Britain’s Cal Crutchlow missed out on a second place by 0.057s in yesterday’s Aragon MotoGP race after being unable to change out of third gear while banging fairings with Aleix Espargaro on the exit of the last corner.
Crutchlow had third place in the bag after a well-executed bike change and had caught the Forward Yamaha man hand over fist. Through the final turn, Crutchlow tried a move he had pulled on Valentino Rossi at the same place in 2011 but because of the collision, his handlebars were turned which pulled his body away from the gear lever.
The Isle of Man resident was ecstatic and relieved to take his first podium and said that he doesn’t care that it will be seen as one taken because of the weather situation and other riders’ misfortune.
“Of course I took advantage of the situation but you have to finish the race to stand on the podium. Anyone that says I only got a podium because it was half wet half dry, yeah, I did, I don’t care. I stayed on the bike, I made the right calculation at the right time as did Aleix but I think I should have pitted a lap earlier,” said Crutchlow, speaking at Aragon.
“I think I could have been a lot closer to Jorge, maybe four or five seconds. I wasn’t too impressed with my pace in the dry, I had a bit of a problem with the rear tyre, I thought. I made a lot of passes with Bautista and Bradl. I was happy to be battling with that group because in a lot of races they have been a long way ahead of me.
“We can expect to be quicker at the next three races because to finish 40 seconds behind the winner has been difficult to take. This weekend has been a turning point, we were already going to finish 20 seconds behind the winner in the dry, so I was pleased with that.
“I thought we could stay out as it was only drizzling but then it deteriorated so bad. I stayed out for the next lap as well and then we had to come in. I made the calculation based on Bradley, as he was in our group. He suddenly caught us all in the damp, passed us completely out of control and used him as a gauge.
“It was the first time I had hopped from bike to bike and gained time on Bradley and started to push towards Aleix. The team deserved it, they have been working hard. I went to go around the outside of him and I should have carried it.
“I remember pulling a move on Valentino in 2011 at the last corner in the dry so I thought I would try it on Aleix but I didn’t change gear because as we hit each other I had the handlebars turned and couldn’t get my foot on the gear lever. I rode across the line in third instead of fifth but a podium is a podium.”