Cal Crutchlow: Sachsenring podium finish 'expected' before race
LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow said he always ‘expected’ to be in the hunt for a podium finish in the German GP at the Sachsenring heading into the weekend.
Crutchlow fought Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales for third for most of the 30-lap encounter, which later became second following the crash of Alex Rins’ Suzuki, but was unable to find a way past, settling for third and his second podium finish of the season.
His first, another third place, came all the way back at the season opening Qatar GP in March, the Brit having struggled for both speed and consistency ever since.
He looked set for a rostrum result in the Catalan GP at Barcelona, but crashed out in the closing stages while challenging Jack Miller for fourth, with the podium battle just a couple seconds further up the road.
The Brit said after his third-placed finish that he was expecting to be competitive at a circuit he has gone well at in the past, with a pair of second place finishes his best results at the 2.2 mile circuit, in 2013 with Tech 3 Yamaha and 2016 with current sqaud LCR Honda respectively.
“Honestly coming into the weekend I was expecting it (a podium). I expected to do a good job here, podium I knew it would be difficult, and it was,” said Crutchlow.
“Once we got into the rhythm it was easy, we had nine seconds at one point to the guys behind so it was a great job by the team and they thoroughly deserved that podium.
“I think here is a bit of a different situation, I’ve not been able to properly turn the bike all year and here we turn the bike with the rear as we slide a lot and the other’s struggle when they slide but the Honda doesn’t, but the tire consumption was a lot and in the final couple laps the rear was gone.”
The three-time MotoGP race winner explained that he was confident of snatching the runner-up spot from Vinales in the closing laps of the race, but a crucial mistake at Turn 10 meant he was forced to give best to the Spaniard.
“Sure I had better pace, at one point I couldn’t see very well as I had all the vents on my helmet open and the wind got in my eyes so he got away a little bit and then I caught him back again,” explained Crutchlow.
“I thought I’d catch and pass him in the last couple of laps and it would be done, but it didn’t quite happen like that.
“It’s always tricky there (Turns 9 and 10) because you’ve had a lot of time of the left side of the tire and by that point it was gone, and because we use the rear brake so much with the Honda I lost the rear, I needed to get a run down to Turn 11 because the Yamaha was so quick there.
“I knew I could pass him at the bottom of the hill like I did with Jack (Miller) earlier in the race, but I needed the run so I came off the corner fast and just made the mistake myself so I was lucky to stay on, could have been a lot bigger but Maverick rode a great defensive race and I’m happy with the podium.”