The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team will have to wait a little longer for their first podium of the 2012 MotoGP season after both riders crashed out of promising positions at Le Mans. Cal Crutchlow was the first to slide off the track when he lost control at the Dunlop chicane on lap 19 and the Briton was forced to satisfy himself with eighth.
“I’m not happy to have crashed while I was fighting for the podium, but the consolation is that at least I was battling for the top three again. Being quickest in the warm-up this morning meant I was confident going into the race but I wasn’t really aggressive at the start. It was a great battle with Andrea and Valentino though but I see med to miss out on a bit of speed on the straight compared to them. That meant I had to make up all my time in the corners. It was a shame I crashed because I was fighting with Valentino and he finished second. There was a chance of the podium today but at least I was there and I lost so much time after the crash that to still finish eighth is a bonus really. Now we go to Barcelona knowing it will be tough but I will looking to be battling for the podium again.”
Teammate Andrea Dovizioso was hot on the heels of Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi until the end of lap 25 when he crashed at turn 11 and the Italian admitted he was riding on the ragged edge before his accident.
“Although the conditions were far from ideal, it was a fantastic race and I really enjoyed it and I hope all the Tech 3 fans in the crowd did too. It was easy to make a mistake on such a wet track but I am really satisfied that I could make such a high pace. The battle with Cal and Valentino was hard but a lot of fun and it is a shame that I crashed while I still had a very good chance of my first podium for Tech 3 and Yamaha. I really wanted to achieve it here in the Team’s home race, and also an important race for our sponsor Monster. The last 12 laps my front tyre kept closing but Valentino couldn’t escape from me and I could see we were catching Casey. I knew that I was pushing right on the limit with the tyres but I wanted to try and go with Valentino. It is a pity to crash but I’m really happy with my feeling with the Yamaha now. I was fast all weekend in the wet and dry and my Team did a great job, so we can look forward to the next races with a lot of confidence.”
Team Manager Herve Poncharal refused to criticise his riders given the difficulty of the track conditions and was encouraged by the potential shown by both.
“That was a really exciting race and I don’t think the French fans can say that Andrea and Cal didn’t put on a spectacular show and do their best to get a podium in our home race. We were strong in the dry but when it rained we were also optimistic and it was a truly great fight between Andrea, Cal and Valentino. They showed tremendous respect to each other, making hard but clean overtakes in really difficult conditions. It isn’t good for my health but certainly good for TV. At some point we thought both of them might have beaten Valentino today, but he picked up his pace and showed that he is still a class act. Cal was pushing hard to try and score his first podium and he crashed but he still managed to finish and credit to him for that. Andrea also wanted his first podium for Tech 3 and Yamaha and even though there was a big gap to Pedrosa behind him, he pushed to fight with Valentino and Casey and crashed. That can happen but I want to thank both of them for showing incredible fighting spirit. The final result wasn’t what we hoped, but we still scored some points and both of them showed in the wet and dry what a competitive package we have in 2012.”