Aragon MotoGP: Cal Crutchlow surprised with front row

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Cal Crutchlow admitted he didn’t expect to challenge for his third successive front row start after he qualified behind dominant Spanish duo Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa at the Motorland Aragon this afternoon.

The British rider clocked a best time of 1.49.576 to finish just 0.084s behind Pedrosa in second and 0.172s behind factory Yamaha rider Lorenzo in pole position.

The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider led for over half of the session, which was the first to be run in dry conditions after practice was dominated by rain.

The 26-year-old said he didn’t expect to have challenged for his sixth front row start of 2012 after Lorenzo, Pedrosa, Ben Spies and Stefan Bradl all took part in a two-day test in dry conditions at the Motorland Aragon earlier this month.

Crutchlow said: “I had a good session. I had a small crash this morning in the wet, which wasn’t so nice and I got covered from head to toe in mud. It was nice to come back out and be fast straightaway.

“We did a good job in that session considering we never tested here for those two extra days. I didn’t expect to be this fast. We did the one-day test after Barcelona but not the two extra days that some of them did, so I didn’t expect to be right up there.

“But with the first couple of runs I did a good job. We lose some rear grip a little but we changed the tyres and went a bit faster but it wasn’t enough for pole.”

The former World Supersport champion is now aiming for his second premier class podium after he ended a 12-year wait for a British rider to score a rostrum in Brno last month.

He said his podium hopes in Spain in tomorrow’s 23-lap race depended on him getting a fast start, which is not usually one of Crutchlow’s strong points.

He added: “Getting away with Jorge and Dani is the key to being on the podium. If you are challenging them two in the first couple of laps you can break the rest.

“A good start will be the key but generally that is not my strongest point, so I need to work on that.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt