British rider Cal Crutchlow was left to rue a late crash in qualifying at a scorching hot Mugello this afternoon that he believes denied him the chance to score his first ever MotoGP pole position.
Crutchlow had just gone out on the one remaining soft front Bridgestone tyre he had left when he crashed at Turn 12 with 12 minutes remaining.
The 26-year-old bounced back to secure his eighth top six starting position in the opening nine races of 2012 with his best lap of 1.47.749 putting him just over 0.2s off the front row in sixth.
But the former World Supersport champion believes he could have fought for pole position without his error.
Crutchlow was forced to set his best time on an old front that had already done 27 laps on it after he had lost a set of new tyres when his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 machine suffered a technical failure yesterday.
Crutchlow told MCN: “I should have been on pole but definitely on the front row. It was my own stupid mistake and a stupid crash. I crashed in exactly the same place as Ben (Spies) and the funny thing is I’d just walked out of the garage and watched him crash.
"We think I pushed hard with the new front and it wasn’t up to full temperature. So it was a stupid mistake and I did my fastest lap with a 27-lap old front tyre because with the mechanical problem from yesterday I had to park the bike and we wasted a set of tyres for that.
"It meant for qualifying I only had one new front tyre and I crashed on it immediately. The old front had done four laps over race distance. You can’t push because when you have got a brand new rear in that is sticky and soft and an old front it is really difficult.
"So to even go faster I was really pleased with. But I wasn’t risking anything and I am glad we got on the second row.
"I think we have got a pace similar to a few other guys for fourth to sixth but we are not at (Jorge) Lorenzo’s pace but I don’t think anyone is.”