Delighted to have secured a third MotoGP podium of 2013 but disappointed not to have pushed Valentino Rossi for the win in yesterday’s Dutch TT, Cal Crutchlow left Assen with mixed feelings.
Starting from pole position for the first time in his career, a slow getaway and a familiar problem of turning his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 on a full fuel tank relegated the British rider down to fifth.
He quickly disposed of the threat posed by fast starting LCR Honda rider Stefan Bradl to take fourth but dropped back to fifth again when heroic Jorge Lorenzo moved by on lap four.
Growing in confidence as his fuel load reduced, Crutchlow still found it a tough challenge to fight his way by Lorenzo, who was showing guts and determination above and beyond the call of duty less than 36 hours after undergoing surgery to plate and screw a broken left collarbone.
By the time Crutchlow did finally make a move at the final chicane on lap 15, all hope of him becoming the first British rider to win in the premier class since Barry Sheene in 1982 had gone, with Valentino Rossi streaking away at the front.
Crutchlow did manage to pass struggling world championship leader Dani Pedrosa to secure a fifth career podium on lap 21.
And he came close to equalling his best ever result, only to briefly run off track at turn one on the final lap while trying to set up a pass on Marc Marquez at the fifth corner.
Crutchlow said: “Again it is too little, too late. I didn’t make a good start and I had a big wheelie off the line and I was heading towards the grass at one point so I had to shut the throttle.
"In the first five laps I couldn’t get heat into the tyre and I couldn’t turn or stop the bike. When Jorge came by I thought this is going to be embarrassing. I had to be careful with him and I didn’t want to knock him off.
"I tried once and made a mistake because I was a bit too cautious and I lost a few laps. But Valentino rode incredible and it is great to see him back up there.”
Crutchlow’s third podium in the last four races did at least keep him in fourth place in the overall standings, though Rossi’s first victory since the Sepang clash in Malaysia in 2010 moved him to within two points of the Isle of Man resident.
He said: “If somebody had said to me at the start of the year that after seven races I’d have good consistent results and have three podiums I’d have been very pleased with that. I was disappointed not to win though and I will openly say that.
"We had a good strong pace but we had the same problem at the start. To finish third in MotoGP after a great race and be disappointed is good motivation. But the other guys rode better.”
After the late close call with Marquez on the final lap, Crutchlow denied he had been attempting an audacious overtake to deny the rookie sensation his best result since he controversially barged Lorenzo out of second at the last corner in Jerez.
Crutchlow said: “I never wanted to pass him. Marc had some problem with his arm and he braked for such a long time I don’t think he realised how much he stopped the bike and I arrived so fast.
"That’s a Yamaha positive and we can turn in fast. I went in and Marc is stopped in the middle of the corner with his hand still on the brake.
"I wanted to be close for Turn 5 because in the first sector the Yamaha was strong. But he defended perfectly and racing like that is fun and everybody wants to see it.
"I got beat by two guys that were stronger on the day but I am happy to be on the podium after I crashed in the last race (Catalunya). It shows I can bounce back well.”
For more from Crutchlow and all the reaction to Rossi's stunning win and Lorenzo's heroic ride to fifth, see the July 3 issue of MCN.