Cal Crutchlow may still be seeking to end Britain’s 32-year winless run in the MotoGP world championship but denied he had missed a golden chance to claim a first premier win in Germany yesterday (Sunday).
The British rider produced one of the best performances of his career at the Sachsenring to fight his way back from sixth to second, passing Assen winner and nine-times world champion Valentino Rossi in the process.
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider launched a fantastic but ultimately futile pursuit of Repsol Honda rival Marc Marquez but his second place ensured he has now scored four podiums in a record-breaking campaign.
Crutchlow’s latest stunning display means he became the first British rider to score four or more podiums in a premier class campaign since Barry Sheene in 1982 but with Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa both absent after big practice crashes, the 27-year-old wasn’t unhappy to see another good victory opportunity go begging.
The former World Supersport champion was racing below his physical best after he suffered two painful practice crashes and after finishing just 1.5s behind Marquez on the official factory Honda RC213V and he said:“In my condition I was pleased to even race. I don't look at this and think I have missed an opportunity to win a race. I could have looked at Assen and thought the same.
I look at it and think it's another podium. I don't like the Sachsenring and it's not my time to win. There are a lot better circuits for me and the Yamaha than here. Marc was the fastest all weekend and we were the closest to him at the end. But I would hate to win a race that Dani and Lorenzo were not in. I'd rather win it fair.”
Crutchlow struggled in the early laps with a rear grip issue that was the main complaint of factory Yamaha rider Rossi, who slipped out of victory contention to eventually finish third.
Crutchlow said: “In the first few laps, me and Valentino were struggling so much, we were out of the seat so many times. I'm saying we couldn't get any heat in the tyre but we had no rear grip in the first 10 laps and really struggled opening the gas.
I'm not saying we lost the race because of this, I believe we lost it because we can't spin the Yamaha. In them long corners where you need to spin and turn the bike, when we spin it tries to fire us off.”
Asked by MCN if he had been surprised how easily it had been to streak away from Rossi to equal his best ever MotoGP result, Crutchlow added: “We were both in the same situation but being really honest I felt I was willing to take more risks than him. I am not saying I was willing to be on the floor but I wanted to catch Marc.
I left it two laps too late again to catch him and if I had gone earlier I think I might have caught him. But it is easier said than done. Marc rode to his pit board and he did a great race. Valentino is no slouch too and it was not easy to pass him.”