|Despite crashing, Crutchlow had the pace to fight for a podium
Photo: Monster Yamaha Tech 3
of his MotoGP career, the 27 year old crashed out of the race on lap 5 of 25.
This crash ended his run of two podium finishes on the bounce, but he’s confident he can return to Assen ready to fight for a podium once again“Obviously I am disappointed that a great weekend ended with a crash and I have to hold my hands up and say it was a stupid mistake on my part. Like last season and again in the first few races of 2013, I have been struggling to stop the bike in the early laps with a full fuel load. I was giving it my all to stay in the battle with the top three and unfortunately I hit the kerb on the inside and crashed. It was a silly mistake and I am sorry to the team because I am confident I could have stayed in the fight for the podium right to the end. We have got to understand why we don’t have so much grip at the start of the race but I can take some big positives out of the weekend again. I was on the front row, I was fastest in the warm-up and I was battling for the podium in the race. Now we can go to Assen confident that I will have good speed and be in the rostrum fight again.”
Despite Crutchlow’s forgettable race, his team-mate Bradley Smith secured his best ever finish in MotoGP in just his sixth race in the class. Still suffering from his nasty crash in Mugello, the rookie showed his steely determination by riding with an open wound on little finger.
Finishing top in Q1, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider made it into Q2 ready to fight for the top 12 positions. Smith started the race in 11th position, in the middle of the fourth row and a strong start saw him move up into the top nine by lap five. The 22 year old was able to bring the fight to Ducati Factory rider Andrea Dovizioso, and Smith finished in the top six for the first time in 2013, 32.228 seconds behind race winner Jorge Lorenzo.
Smith revealed “Obviously today was a much more positive result for me, even if sixth position looks a bit better than it really is. But at the end you have to finish the race to score the points and I did that in difficult conditions while not at my 100% physical best. So it is a great result for the team and me. I really focused on the first eight laps trying not to make any mistakes and trying to stay as close to Dovizioso and (Stefan) Bradl because I knew they should have been more or less on the same race pace as me. I tried to attack Espargaro as quick as possible so I didn’t lose too much time and I managed that. Finally to be in a fight with Andrea towards the closing laps of the race, knowing that he has been always very strong during this part of the race, was obviously something special and makes me feel proud. And to finish 32 seconds behind the winner is another great step and I just want to continue like this until the summer break. My team did a fantastic job to help me on the YZR-M1 and we really turned around a difficult Friday to have a great result on Sunday and that makes me really happy.”