Cal Crutchlow found himself fighting his way through into the top six from the back of the field for the second MotoGP race in succession at the end of an eventful encounter in Assen.
The 26-year-old was left contemplating what might have been after he was dropped to the back of the field at the first corner having swerved to avoid a collision involving Spanish duo Alvaro Bautista and Jorge Lorenzo.
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider though set the third fastest lap of the race to fight his way back into fifth position having brilliantly caught and passed Ducati trio Valentino Rossi, Nicky Hayden and Hector Barbera.
His impressive charge from dead last followed his brilliant attack from the back of the grid to sixth with a broken left ankle in Silverstone last month.
At the British Grand Prix Crutchlow had produced lap times good enough to have put him on the podium and it was the same again in the 26-lap Dutch TT.
Crutchlow was adamant that he would have been battling with Tech 3 team-mate Andrea Dovizioso and factory Yamaha rider Ben Spies for third position.
He told MCN: “I am pretty angry because if I hadn’t run off track at the first corner I would have been battling for the podium. Andrea did a fantastic job and he deserved it but it should have been me up there. I had brilliant pace again but running off at the first corner put me dead last. I’ve had bad starts and the first good one I get all year I get caught up in some first corner carnage. I was really lucky to be honest because I was nearly collected and it would have been a disaster with my ankle still not even close to 100% after Silverstone. I had the pace to be on the podium and I am disappointed I didn’t make it. I know where we should have been but it was another really bad day and I still finished fifth, so it is not a complete disaster. If I didn’t have the pace to be on the podium I’d have been disappointed but we did.”
Crutchlow was critical of Bautista’s rash move that ended Lorenzo’s terrific start to 2012 and put reigning world champion Casey Stoner firmly back in title contention after the Aussie won for the third time this season.
He added: “We all make mistakes and nobody is perfect but you have to be sensible because that kind of thing can finish a career.”
He also said the decision to relegate Bautista to the back of the grid for next Sunday’s German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring was fully justified.
He said: “It is justified because it was lucky it wasn’t more of us because it would have been easy for a few more of us to be caught in it. I had to run off the track to avoid it, so it still wrecked my weekend. I’m not very happy because it was nobody’s fault apart from his.”
For more from Crutchlow and the latest on his 2013 future, see the July 4 issue of Motor Cycle News.