Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Cal Crutchlow rounded off a memorable weekend with a stunning ride to his first MotoGP podium finish in today's bwin Grand Prix Ceske Republiky at the Brno circuit.
After signing a new one-year deal to remain with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team in 2013 yesterday, the 26-year-old then powered his YZR-M1 to second place in qualifying to score a career best grid position.
He then capped the best weekend of his MotoGP career with a fantastic ride to third position in today's 22-lap race, a result that saw him become the first British rider since 2000 to finish on a MotoGP podium.
Crutchlow brilliantly capitalised on his fourth front row start of the season to lead the pursuit of fast starting Spanish duo Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa in the early laps. He was immediately able to set a fast and consistent rhythm and he impressively pulled away from Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team-mate Andrea Dovizioso in fourth.
The Italian was doing everything within his power to cut the gap to Crutchlow as he went in search of a sixth podium in eight races. But Crutchlow demonstrated fantastic concentration and speed to ensure Dovizioso never threatened to deny him a landmark first rostrum.
Dovizioso was able to comfortably secure his seventh successive top four finish after he had held off an early challenge from compatriot Valentino Rossi.
Today's result continued a phenomenal season for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 squad. Crutchlow's third position was the sixth podium in the last eight races for the French-based squad. And with 272-points in the Team World Championship standings, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team trails Yamaha's Factory squad by just 39-points with six races of the 2012 campaign remaining.
Cal Crutchlow Position 3rd - Time: +12.343 “It feels fantastic to finally score my first podium in MotoGP. This has been the perfect weekend for me because I signed a new contract with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team and then scored my best ever qualifying result yesterday. So to cap it all off with a podium is a great feeling and hopefully I've already gone a little way to repaying the faith Tech 3, Yamaha and Monster have shown in me. It wasn't an easy race because I was on my own for most of it and it was a real test of concentration. The pleasing aspect is my pace was really consistent throughout, but it had to be because I knew Andrea was behind. I basically raced my pit board so I knew where he was but I knew he was going to be hard to beat when you look at how well he has been riding lately. I felt comfortable holding the gap to him but I couldn't afford to make a mistake because I knew he'd be ready to pounce. It felt great when I came across the line and saw my crew celebrating because they have given me unbelievable support. I feel the pressure is off a little bit now, so hopefully today's podium is the first of many. To end a 12-year drought for a British rider to get on a MotoGP podium is also a great feeling. It seems a long t ime since Jeremy McWilliams did it, so I hope the British fans don't have to wait that long for the next one!”
Andrea Dovizioso Position 4th - Time: +18.591 “I was confident going into the race that I could fight for the podium. But there is no doubt that Cal did a better job than me and I congratulate him for getting his first podium in MotoGP. When I was close to him in the early laps I could see he gained some time in corner entry and he had more corner speed than me. But he lost on the exit but for sure he was gaining more than he lost. I spent the whole race pushing at my maximum to recover the gap to him but it was not possible. He was very consistent and I couldn't push him into making a mistake, so he did a great job. We have finished inside the top four again today but this result demonstrates that we still have some margin to improve. We have collected a lot of data and we will analyse that now to understand how we can be faster.”
Hervé Poncharal - Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team Manager “I am so happy for Cal because the step he has made this season compared to 2011 has been incredible. He has worked so hard to get that first podium and today he finally got it, and I couldn't be happier for him and his crew. It has been an incredible weekend for Cal. We thought it was great to sign him on a new contract yesterday and then he got his best ever qualifying position. This gave us a lot of optimism but he rode the perfect race. He got a good start and pushed hard right from the first corner and that is what you need to do in this class. He was very consistent too and he never gave Andrea one chance to close the gap. We know that Andrea is a great rider and he has been in tremendous form, so for Cal to beat him today confirmed he did a truly remarkable job. This season has been beyond our wildest dreams and we have now been on the podium in 50% of the races. I'm sure this will take some pressure of Cal and we are going to see him battling for the podium again in the last six races. Andrea had another very good ride too. He really pushed Cal as hard as he could and he showed what a great sportsman he is today by acknowledging that he was beaten by the better man. We are now looking forward to going to Misano where we will give our maximum effort to extend this incredible run of results.”
Source: Yahama Racing