Cal Crutchlow maintained a positive frame of mind despite finishing down in 14th at the Dutch TT. The Briton was running as high as fourth but was forced to pit with front tyre problems, costing him two laps as he changed to fresh rubber.
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 man also had the opportunity to battle on track with Valentino Rossi and felt confident that he could have beaten him in a straight fight to the chequered flag had he not suffered severe graining on his front Bridgestone tyre.
“Looking at the positives I got a fantastic start and for the first few laps I was running close to the front in a MotoGP race for the first time. I felt confident I could keep Valentino behind me but then after about five or six laps I started struggling with the front tyre on the right side. I had no choice but to come in and change it because if I had carried on pushing it was going to be easy to crash and that’s the last thing I need to be doing at the moment. Having only had surgery on my left collarbone just over a week ago I just couldn’t afford to have another crash.”
Despite the result, the British has had another impressive weekend after qualifying on the second row on Friday, less than a fortnight after breaking his collarbone. Crutchlow is now looking forward to continuing his good form in Italy next weekend.
“Without that I’ve no doubt I’d have finished fourth but I’ve proved again I’ve got the speed and shown that I can race with the best in this class. It wasn’t the final result we wanted but I can’t change it and I still learned a lot, so now I’m concentrating on Mugello and getting a good result there.”
The same tyre issues also struck team mate Colin Edwards, but the American was still able to hang on to seventh. Edwards admitted that he will be looking for answers from Bridgestone after a troublesome race, just his second since breaking a collarbone himself.
“That wasn’t an easy race at all and to be honest I’m happy I made it to the finish. I was feeling really good and catching Valentino and Cal when I went through the second corner and lost the front. I thought it was just because I was pushing but the next corner the same thing happened and from that moment it was really difficult . Each time I was in a right-hander I couldn’t turn but that wasn’t my only issue today.”
“After about ten laps I got really bad arm pump. I’ve got no upper body strength with the rib injury from Catalunya, so to compensate I was doing everything with my arms and at one stage, the combination of the two issues meant I thought I was going to have to pull in. It was a case of gritting my teeth and getting some points but we’ll analyse what happened because Ben (Spies) won the race on the soft front tyre. Our bike isn’t set-up completely different, so we’ll have to talk to Bridgestone, but hats off to Ben because he’s done an awesome job all weekend and rode a great race.”
The early stages promised so much for the Tech 3 squad, and team manager Herve Poncharal was philosophical after a troublesome race for the team.
“It was a brilliant start for both Cal and Colin and at that moment, after the incident between Simoncelli and Lorenzo, I was thinking that they could finish with a really strong Team result. The lap time was looking good from both of them and we were hoping they could finish inside the top six together for the first time this season.”
“But suddenly we saw the lap time of Cal drop a lot and he came to the pit where we found out that the right side of his soft front tyre was completely finished. So he left the pit again with a hard compound, but of course his race was finished, though I want to thank him for going back and pushing to his maximum for the Team.”
“It was only a few laps later also Colin’s pace went down. He managed to defend seventh position but by the end he was very slow with the same problem as Cal. Unfortunately that is racing and in those conditions you have to take a bit of a gamble, as we almost had no proper dry time on the track.”
“Finally I’d like to say congratulations to Yamaha and Ben. This weekend was huge for Yamaha being its 50th anniversary celebrations and for Ben to win was the perfect way to finish the weekend.”