Cal Crutchlow says a weight has been lifted off his shoulders after claiming his first podium finish in MotoGP at Brno. Crutchlow held off teammate Andrea Dovizioso to take third place and with his stay at Tech 3 extended for another year, everything fell into place for the Briton.

“It feels fantastic to finally score my first podium in MotoGP. This has been the perfect weekend for me because I signed a new contract with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team and then scored my best ever qualifying result yesterday. So to cap it all off with a podium is a great feeling and hopefully I’ve already gone a little way to repaying the faith Tech 3, Yamaha and Monster have shown in me. It wasn’t an easy race because I was on my own for most of it and it was a real test of concentration. The pleasing aspect is my pace was really consistent throughout, but it had to be because I knew Andrea was behind. I basically raced my pit board so I knew where he was but I knew he was going to be hard to beat when you look at how well he has been riding lately. I felt comfortable holding the gap to him but I couldn’t afford to make a mistake because I knew he’d be ready to pounce.”

“It felt great when I came across the line and saw my crew celebrating because they have given me unbelievable support. I feel the pressure is off a little bit now, so hopefully today’s podium is the first of many. To end a 12-year drought for a British rider to get on a MotoGP podium is also a great feeling. It seems a long time since Jeremy McWilliams did it, so I hope the British fans don’t have to wait that long for the next one!”

Dovizioso was quick to congratulate Crutchlow after his breakthrough result but is keen to find the reasons for his relative lack of pace on Sunday.

“I was confident going into the race that I could fight for the podium. But there is no doubt that Cal did a better job than me and I congratulate him for getting his first podium in MotoGP. When I was close to him in the early laps I could see he gained some time in corner entry and he had more corner speed than me. But he lost on the exit but for sure he was gaining more than he lost. I spent the whole race pushing at my maximum to recover the gap to him but it was not possible. He was very consistent and I couldn’t push him into making a mistake, so he did a great job. We have finished inside the top four again today but this result demonstrates that we still have some margin to improve. We have collected a lot of data and we will analyse that now to understand how we can be faster.”