Cal Crutchlow believes he will be one of six riders fighting for a place on the podium in tomorrow’s Qatar Grand Prix. The Briton carried his fine practice form into qualifying itself to secure second on the grid and paid tribute to his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 squad for giving him the package to battle for pole.
“It is a very positive way to be starting the first race from the front row of the grid and thanks to my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team because I had a great bike underneath me tonight. I was confident going into QP2 of being able to challenge for the front row because I was fastest in FP4 and the bike felt like it was working really well. I must admit the 15-minute format is really exciting and I think it is great for the Championship and for the fans. I’d have liked it to have been only 10 minutes long because that would have put me on pole position! But credit to Jorge because he pulled a brilliant time out of the bag, though I am really satisfied because starting from the front row is always important. It is going to be a very difficult race but I am ready for it. I think there are six of us that can be fighting for the podium and I will certainly be giving it my all to make sure I am one of them.”
Teammate Bradley Smith will start from the third row in ninth place and the rookie is hoping to keep pace with the riders around him to aid his development.
“I was really happy to make it into QP2, so to claim a place on the third row for my first MotoGP race is an incredible feeling. I’m particularly pleased because I only used one soft tyre in the 15-minute session and it looks like everybody else set their best time on their second soft tyre. I used an extra one last night in FP3 to make sure I made into the top 10 for QP2 and I want to keep another soft tyre for the Warm-up session to give me some feeling ahead of the race tomorrow night. So to be on the third row is better than I expected and to be in front of Nicky (Hayden) is a bonus. Hopefully tomorrow night I will be able to get in a battle. That’s the best way for me to learn how to ride this bike more and gain more experience, and I don’t have a target other than that.”