Britain’s Cal Crutchlow has hailed his maiden MotoGP success as the ‘best feeling in the world’ after the LCR Honda rider outsmarted his rivals to win in the wet at Brno in the Czech Republic at the weekend.
Crutchlow fitted hard Michelin tyres front and rear and as the opposition began to flounder around him, he charged through on the drying track to take control, pulling clear to win by more than seven seconds from Italian Yamaha ace Valentino Rossi.
Spain’s championship leader Marc Marquez (Honda) finished the race third and maintained his position at the top of the standings.
The 30-year-old’s Crutchlow’s victory was a landmark achievement in motorcycling’s top tier championship, coming 35 years after Barry Sheene last won in Sweden in 1981.
“I’m really pleased and obviously it’s been a long time coming. I’ve been close at a couple of races like Sachsenring [where Crutchlow finished second] and some others in the past, but nothing is greater than winning,” he said.
“Sure, we won a tricky race, but I made the best tyre choice on the grid and I felt that if I went with the hard, rear I had to go with the hard front.
“Honestly, it’s the best feeling in the world because yesterday I made a disaster and I had to say sorry to my team and to Honda because I don’t think there was any conceivable part left on the bike because it must’ve went six-and-a-half feet in the air – just the engine.
“The revs were completely destroyed so they had to work really hard to build me a bike for today and it’s really nice to repay them.”
Crutchlow felt in total control in the closing stages and said he was able to ‘cruise around’ to close out the win because his grip levels were far superior as the race neared a conclusion.
“It’s a long race I can tell you and it’s a long race when Lucio [Cecchinello] is hanging over pit wall, jumping up and down,” Crutchlow said.
“If I could have taken my hand off the bar I would’ve stuck my middle finger up to say, ‘go back inside to the garage and have a coffee or something!’
“I had so much grip compared to the other guys and I was cruising around. I knew the race would come to me in the end. It was really difficult on the first five laps, not with the front really, but with the rear tyre on the left-hand side because it was difficult to heat but once it started to dry it was perfect.”
With John McPhee winning the Moto3 race and Sam Lowes taking third place in the Moto2 race, Crutchlow admitted there was a feel good factor amongst the British riders ahead of their home round at Silverstone.
“It’s been a great day and I’m really pleased for John because he’s worked really hard over the years to be competitive. He does everything right to be there and Sam did a great job as well,” he said.
“I think Sam said the me that he hadn’t finished a wet race in six years – he’s maybe crashed and got back on, but he’s crashed in every wet race in six years so he did a good job today. It’s an incredible day for the British riders and it’s great to go to Silverstone with that hype.
“It was 35 years since Barry Sheene won a Grand Prix and to be mentioned in the same sentence as him is some really nice and it’s perfect timing for the crowds for Silverstone,” added Crutchlow.
“The first thing people say to me is, ‘what’s your emotion after winning’. I last won six years ago [in WSBK] and the emotion then was different to how it is now. I really feel that the biggest emotion I had was three weeks ago when Willow was born, so I don’t think it compares in that sense but that being said, it’s the best day of my racing career and the best emotion of my racing career. Hopefully it can happen again.”
RESULTS AND STANDINGS:
Cal Crutchlow GBR LCR Honda (RC213V) 47m 44.290s
2. Valentino Rossi ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP (YZR-M1) 47m 51.588s
3. Marc Marquez ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 47m 53.877s
4. Loris Baz FRA Avintia Racing (Desmosedici GP14.2) 47m 56.848s
5. Hector Barbera ESP Avintia Racing (Desmosedici GP14.2) 47m 57.383s
6. Eugene Laverty IRL Aspar MotoGP Team (Desmosedici GP14.2) 47m 58.102s
7. Danilo Petrucci ITA Octo Pramac Yakhnich (Desmosedici GP15) 48m 7.704s
8. Andrea Iannone ITA Ducati Team (Desmosedici GP) 48m 8.852s
9. Maverick Viñales ESP Team Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR) 48m 8.871s
10. Tito Rabat ESP Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS (RC213V)* 48m 21.421s
11. Yonny Hernandez COL Aspar MotoGP Team (Desmosedici GP14.2) 48m 24.201s
12. Dani Pedrosa ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 48m 25.387s
13. Pol Espargaro ESP Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 48m 27.492s
14. Stefan Bradl GER Factory Aprilia Gresini (RS-GP) 48m 29.977s
15. Scott Redding GBR Octo Pramac Yakhnich (Desmosedici GP15) 48m 46.491s
16. Alvaro Bautista ESP Factory Aprilia Gresini (RS-GP) 49m 3.131s
17. Jorge Lorenzo ESP Movistar Yamaha MotoGP (YZR-M1) +1 lap
Andrea Dovizioso ITA Ducati Team (Desmosedici GP) DNF
Bradley Smith GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) DNF
Aleix Espargaro ESP Team Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR) DNF
|1||Marc Marquez||Repsol Honda||197|
|2||Valentino Rossi||Movistar Yamaha||144|
|3||Jorge Lorenzo||Movistar Yamaha||138|
|4||Dani Pedrosa||Repsol Honda||109|
|5||Maverick Vinales||Team Suzuki Ecstar||100|
|6||Andrea Iannone||Ducati Team||96|
|7||Pol Espargaro||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||81|
|8||Andrea Dovizioso||Ducati Team||79|
|9||Hector Barbera||Avintia Racing||76|
|10||Cal Crutchlow||LCR Honda||66|
|11||Eugene Laverty||Aspar Team MotoGP||63|
|12||Scott Redding||Octo Pramac Yakhnich||54|
|13||Aleix Espargaro||Team Suzuki Ecstar||51|
|14||Jack Miller||Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS||42|
|15||Bradley Smith||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||42|
|16||Stefan Bradl||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||39|
|17||Danilo Petrucci||Octo Pramac Yakhnich||38|
|18||Alvaro Bautista||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||35|
|19||Tito Rabat||Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS||26|
|20||Loris Baz||Avintia Racing||24|
|21||Michele Pirro||Octo Pramac Yakhnich||23|
|22||Yonny Hernandez||Avintia Racing||8|