It may not have been the first podium of the season he was looking for, but after two big crashes on Saturday, British rider Cal Crutchlow was delighted to be leaving Jerez with a third straight top five finish in 2013.
Struggling with pain in his lower back after suffering bleeding around his left kidney, Crutchlow initially fought for fourth with nine-times world champion Valentino Rossi in the early stages of the 27-lap race.
A mistake at the end of the back straight dropped Crutchlow back into the clutches of Honda rider Alvaro Bautista. The Spaniard then led the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider for six laps before Crutchlow counter attacked on lap 17 and he was easily able to streak away to maintain his brilliant start to 2013.
The 27-year-old hasn't finished lower than fifth so far this season and in Qatar, Texas and Jerez he has easily finished the top non-factory rider.
He told MCN: “I made sure I got fifth and made sure I was top satellite bike again by three seconds and I think we finished quite strong. Fifth isn’t a bad result considering everything that has gone on before and to be the best of the rest again is a positive. The issue in the early laps was I kept losing the front but it is clear that the other Yamaha’s were having the same issue. I lost the front so many times in the first laps and I have to say that for two laps when I followed Valentino he had a couple of moments as well. It seemed on a full fuel tank our bike was quite bad.
The crucial thing was I couldn’t stop the bike on the full tank and I never had much grip. Also the fuel tank on the factory bike is further back so they keep weight on the rear. I couldn't stop and the reason why they have a fuel tank further back is to help them stop in the early part of the race. I lost contact with Valentino when I ran wide a little bit and on the same lap Alvaro passed me and he slowed the pace. Valentino went no faster and he just stayed on the same pace as well. He didn’t ride away from me but with the Honda acceleration, Alvaro was making it difficult to pass.
He made six laps in front of me and we lost 2.5s to Valentino. It has been a difficult weekend in many respects with the two big crashes, so I am very satisfied with fifth because probably last year I would not have finished the race in the same situation and that’s for sure an improvement.”
For more from Crutchlow, see the May 8 issue of MCN.