The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team experienced mixed emotions in today's Grand Prix of Japan after Andrea Dovizioso took a hard fought fourth position, but Cal Crutchlow was forced to retire out of podium contention on the final lap.
Determined to score his second rostrum finish of the 2012 World Championship campaign, Crutchlow was just preparing his attack on the final lap when his YZR-M1 machine ran out of fuel as he entered Turn 3.
Crutchlow's cruel misfortune moved Dovizioso into fourth position after he had fought his way through from outside of the top six in the early stages. The Italian moved into the top six on lap 10 when he powered his YZR-M1 by Stefan Bradl and he seized fifth on lap 17 from reigning World Champion Casey Stoner.
Dovizioso maintained a constant rhythm and he was satisfied to end a difficult weekend with a top five finish when Crutchlow's unfortunate retirement moved him to fourth. He now trails Stoner by just five points in the battle for third position in the overall standings heading to the next phase of the flyaway triple-header at the Sepang track in Malaysia.
Position 4th - Time: +16.397
“It's hard to be satisfied with this fourth place and there is a few reasons why. First of all I was not as fast as I believe I should be. It was actually a strange weekend because of the problems with the brakes. This track is so hard for braking that we worked a lot and tried many things to solve that problem. But at the beginning of the race the brakes did not work properly and I did not understand why and I had to keep some margin in the corners, as I could not stop as I normally do. After a few laps it started to get better and I could push more and more but I had already lost a lot of time. I did not ride as smooth as I wanted as well, so I could not catch up to Alvaro and Cal. It's a pity because I expected more from this weekend, so I suppose fourth is not so bad. Now I'm looking forward to going to Sepang next week where I am confident I will be battling for the podium again.”
“All I can do after the way the race finished is take the positives from this weekend and there are a lot. This isn't a good track for me and I was struggling on Friday, yet I managed to get on the front row of the grid again and for the whole race I was fighting for the podium. The improvements we made from Friday were massive and I am proud of the job that my crew and myself did this weekend. But there is no denying that I am disappointed as well because I was confident I could have passed Alvaro on the last lap. It wouldn't have been easy because he was riding very well and it was a very enjoyable battle with him. I had a lot of fun and I'm sure he did too and it is just unfortunate that we couldn't take the fight right to the very end. Even fourth would have been good for my hopes of finishing fifth in the Championship but I lost a lot of points today. We knew fuel consumption was going to be critical. I was very fast and for almost the whole race I was on my own with no slipstream, so I used more fuel. I've proven again though that I can fight with the best in the world and now I'm looking forward to Sepang. I had two good tests there earlier this year and I'm excited to go back and try to battle for the top three again.”
Hervé Poncharal - Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team Manager
“It is a pity that we were not able to enjoy our normal strong showing in Yamaha's home race but Cal could not have done anything more to score a podium. He was giving his maximum right from the first lap to the last and it was a pity that he had to retire when he was so close to third. We knew this track was going to be critical for fuel consumption. It is all hard braking and hard acceleration and Cal's pace was incredibly fast. The temperature was cooler too and we knew it would be on the limit. When we saw Cal slowing and then stopping on the last lap we were pretty sure he had run out of fuel. It is a shame but we have to look at the positives and once again he started on the front row and put up another fantastic battle for the podium. Cal is certainly giving the fans some entertainment this year because he always seems to be in a big fight. He deserved to finish but once again he has proved to be fast enough to fight for the top three. It was a steady race from Andrea and he was able to score some very important Championship points. He never gave up despite not feeling totally comfortable and confident with the bike and I know he was expecting more. He is very fast at Sepang, so hopefully next weekend he will be closer to the fight at the front.”
Source: Yamaha Racing