Cal Crutchlow has revealed he had already targeted Phillip Island as a track he planned to win at this season, but admits changeable weather over the weekend plus the sight of Marc Marquez crashing in front of him made the job tricky at times.
Crutchlow this morning became the first British rider to ever win a MotoGP race at the Australian track as he beat Valentino Rossi over the line to take his second premier class win after Marquez crashed out from the lead on Lap 10.
The LCR Honda rider had been running second at the time and inherited the lead, which he held the remainder of the 27-lap race without ever coming under pressure from behind.
“Obviously I’m really, really pleased to come here and race in the conditions we raced in over the weekend,” he said. “It was about keeping your head over the weekend and making a good job for the situation because we know over the weekend sometimes the situation was dangerous
“It was some long times not riding the bike but I had to stay strong, I felt that my pace in the race was good, it was better than the other years.”
Crutchlow, along with several other riders, had chosen the same hard front tyre option as Marquez, and he admits seeing the new champion crash at the now infamous turn four did concern him.
“If Marc would’ve crashed in turn six I would’ve thought nothing of it, but I crashed there two years ago with four seconds to Vale and 10 seconds behind me on the last lap. He crashed in Lap Nine or something and I spent the rest of the race thinking ‘oh this is a disaster’ and I honestly really didn’t brake so much into there, I didn’t gain any time there I just took it quite easy.
“I know it sounds really strange, I pushed in the laps when the sun wasn’t out because I knew I had to keep the heat in the front tyre, and when the sun was out I took it a little bit easier as such.
“I was in a rhythm so I continued in the rhythm and I saw the pit board and it said plus 1.2 Vale but I didn’t see it the lap before so I thought ‘no, please he’s not coming from 15th and he’s already catching me’ and then it started to go up a little bit and I rode comfortably.”
The Brit admits he’s at a great point in his career at the moment, and that he had already fancied a win when the series headed to Australia.
“I targeted a few races this year. I said I wanted to do a good job and be on the podium in Brno, I said I wanted to be on the podium at Silverstone and I was and I targeted here to win and I did so I’ve had a really, really good year.
“Somebody asked me last week about what I thought about going to Phillip Island and I said I planned to come and win and I don’t think they believed me but I honestly did, I wanted to come here and do a good job – it’s nice to win one in the wet and the dry because people think you can only ride in the rain when you win in the rain so yeah, we did a good job.”