Cal Crutchlow’s strategy to be at the back of the fast group at Assen paid dividends with the Brit netting his first MotoGP front row start since his pole position in Jerez.
The LCR rider found himself at the back of a nine-strong group in the closing stages of Q2 and whilst he confessed it wasn’t intentional to find himself at the very back of the group, electing not to lead as he once was proved the right decision.
“I’m a clever guy,” said the 32-year-old. “I didn’t want to lead this bunch of animals around.
“I looked back and there were seven guys behind me, so I decided to shut the throttle. I like to do my laps alone, but when I left the pit, everyone slowed down and I didn’t want them to follow me then, but I ended up at the back of the group because I slowed down in the fast corner and they had already committed.
“I think my strategy paid off, that I was last in the group, even though I was not taking a big advantage. It’s strange when you follow another bike because you try to go fast where their bike is actually fast, so I was actually making more mistakes.
“I feel good, it was a strange qualifying session in that sense that the riders were following each other, but they obviously also know the importance of this race, of how close it is because the top three are covered by less than a tenth.
“It was strange for that reason but entertaining I’m sure for the crowd and the journalists, but no so entertaining for the riders and also the race will probably also be the same. We like a battle, but not with ten or twelve guys because then it’s too close.”
Pole sitter Marc Marquez displayed exceptional race pace through the free practice sessions, setting a rather ominous tone for the remainder of the grid. When asked if he has the pace to go with the World Champion, Crutchlow said a lot will come down to the start and being in the leading group of riders.
“It will depend what start he gets. Or we both have to catch Valentino; we don’t know how the race is going to be. In MotoGP the start is so important to try and get away and be in that lead group,” he said.
“You can see some guys from the third row being capable of getting onto the podium also and I do believe it’s possible to be on the podium tomorrow, but you could also find yourself seventh or eighth I think. But I’m looking forward to a battle and doing a good job for my team and for Honda, so let’s see how it goes.”