Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow returned to the podium at Assen today securing a third position in a hard fought battle for the podium following his debut pole position yesterday.
|Cal secured his third podium of the season
Photo: Monster Yamaha Tech 3
The Coventry rider got a good start but was pushed out into fifth in the first corner, behind Valentino Rossi and three Honda’s. The 27 year old refused to sit back however and fought hard for fourth position with Jorge Lorenzo, which he seized on lap 15 of 26. The former World Supersport champion then began to hunt down Marc Marquez in second, and Crutchlow was close to passing him on the closing laps however Crutchlow came close to t-boning Marquez on the penultimate lap and as a result settled for third position, crossing the line 4.073s behind Rossi.
Crutchlow revealed “I am really happy to be back on the podium after the disappointment of Barcelona. It was a great battle right to the end and once again I showed my speed and I was close to finishing second and that would have matched my best result in MotoGP. But obviously after starting from pole position I wanted to win the race and had it not been for me struggling with the full fuel tank in the first five laps, I think I had a chance to fight with Valentino. I can’t turn the bike on a full fuel load and then Jorge passed me and he was riding amazing considering his physical condition. It took me a while to get back by him but then I chased down Dani and Marc but it was a case of too little, too late. It was close with Marc on the last lap and I think we touched, so we were lucky he got back on the throttle when he did otherwise both of us could have been in the grandstand! Being back on the podium is great for Monster, Tech 3 and Yamaha and it is another positive result for the Championship. Before the start of the season, if somebody had said I would have been on the podium three times in seven races and been so consistently fast with the best riders in the world, then I would have been happy. Now we go to Germany in a positive frame of mind and hoping to get back on the rostrum again.”
British team-mate Bradley Smith secured another top ten finish in his debut MotoGP race at Assen, a track he has never won at in the at in the past, but has secured podium finishes in both the 125cc and Moto2 class.
Still suffering from his montserous crash at Mugello which resulted in the 22 year old needing a skin graft on his finger. Starting on the second row along side race winner Valentino Rossi, Smith got a strong start and pushed to stay with the top six, however the Oxford rider struggled with the hard braking zones and slipped down to 11th position with his wrist injury. Not giving up Smith was involved in a hard fight with Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso, which Smith won and finished 9th.
Bradley crossed the line 33 seconds behind race winner Rossi “With my wrist injury continuing to cause me a problem, today was probably my hardest race of the year. After the operation immediately after Catalunya I expected it to be better than the last two races but to be honest I have a few more problems now. So it was a good race and to be able to get ninth on the last lap is a good situation. The distance to Bradl was quite similar to Barcelona and truthfully this ninth feels better than the sixth I got in Barcelona because today I really had to battle and nobody crashed. The gap to the front is quite similar to Barcelona and obviously the big positive of the weekend was starting on the second row. I knew finishing seventh was going to be a best case scenario because I knew Jorge was going to be coming through. I stayed consistent and my pace in the second half of the race was strong. I still need to work on the set-up for the early laps but I can go to Germany with a lot of confidence. I’ve scored another top 10 and beaten two very experienced riders on the final lap. And hopefully the wrist will be less of a problem at Germany and I can be in a bit less discomfort than here.”