Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith equalled their season best results at Germany’s Sachsenring today, the British duo storming to a fantastic double top six finish for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team.
The 27-year-old’s brilliant charge gathered momentum on lap four when he dived underneath Alvaro Bautista to slot into fourth at the final corner. He then pressured home crowd favourite Stefan Bradl into a mistake at the final corner on lap 10 to move into the top three.
With adrenaline and the non-stop action taking his mind of numerous cuts, bruises and friction burns he suffered in two heavy practice crashes, he then executed a brave but perfect pass on Valentino Rossi at Turn 12 on lap 16 to snatch second.
At that stage of the race, Marc Marquez had established a comfortable advantage of 2.8s. But demonstrating his never give up attitude and fighting spirit, Crutchlow launched a relentless pursuit of the Spaniard that kept fans on the edge of their seats right to the chequered flag.
Crutchlow narrowed the gap to 1.5s but Marquez was unflappable, though Crutchlow’s second place helped him secure another personal milestone in his third premier class season. Today's result saw him become the first British rider to score four or more podium MotoGP finishes since the legendary Barry Sheene in 1982.
Not be to be outdone, Smith’s eye-catching ride ensured he played an important role in a landmark result, with today’s race the first time two British riders have finished inside the top six in a premier class encounter since the Donington Park round back 1993.
Starting from seventh on the grid, the 22-year-old held onto that place while he was comfortably able to streak away from a chasing pack that included MotoGP race winners Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden.
He moved into the top six on lap seven and feeling comfortable and confident on the YZR-M1 machine he pushed hard to try and bridge a gap of close to three seconds to Bautista in fifth. He kept the Spaniard firmly in his sights throughout the race but was happy to settle for a richly deserved top six.
The most pleasing aspect for the rookie was the 25-second gap to race winner Marquez, which was the closest Smith has finished to first place in 2013, and provides further proof of his rapidly growing confidence with the YZR-M1 machine.
Cal Crutchlow (2nd– 107 points): “I am really happy to be on the podium again because it was a hard race in my physical condition. The two crashes in practice took a lot out of me but I dug deep and it is great to get another podium for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team. I actually made a really good start but I had to roll off the throttle when Marc came towards me and that cost me a few places.
The bike worked really well in the first few laps and I was able to fight my way through and I really enjoyed it. In the second half of the race the bike felt great and I was fast. I came on strong and pulled away from Valentino and I did absolutely everything I could to close down Marc.
I couldn’t have done anything more but credit to him because he didn’t make a mistake, he controlled the gap to me very well and he deserved to win. I just kept on pushing and at the end second is another fantastic result. It is my fourth podium and I am not so far back in the Championship, so I can’t really ask for anything more. Now we go to Laguna trying to fight for another podium and hopefully that first win.”
Bradley Smith (6th– 51 points): “I am truely happy with this sixth place. I got a good start and I was really pleased with my pace for most of the race. It is particularly pleasing because this is a track where I expected to struggle more because it has a lot of left-hand corners and you are constantly pushing with the left part of your body. That’s where my injury is but I felt strong for the whole race.
I’m also pleased that we managed to reduce the gap to the winner by another seven seconds and I think 25 seconds is not too bad at the moment. There were so many positives but I had a little bit of an issue with rear grip and I think we can still improve our setting to make that better.
I still believe I did a really good job and now the next objective is to get closer to Bautista on the satellite Honda. This result has given me a lot of confidence and I am really looking forward to going to Laguna Seca. It is a very difficult track and while I did test there earlier this year on a production bike I am still expecting a tough weekend.”
Yamaha Tech 3 Team