Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team duo Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith’s Czech Republic MotoGP race didn’t live up to expectations after both fell out of top six contention in cool and cloudy conditions at the Brno track this afternoon.
Confident he could battle for a fifth podium of 2013 after a memorable qualifying performance put Crutchlow in pole position for the second time in his MotoGP career, the 27-year-old was locked in an exciting battle with Valentino Rossi and Alvaro Bautista in the early laps.
The British rider was able to rejoin the 22-lap race and demonstrating the never-give-up attitude that has become his trademark in MotoGP, he fought through from the back of the field to take 17th at the chequered flag.
Smith was also optimistic that he could battle for a top six result after he too impressed with an outstanding qualifying performance yesterday. The rookie equalled his best grid position in sixth and he was running a strong pace right behind nine-times World Champion Valentino Rossi in front of a massive crowd of just over 142,000 fans.
Feeling comfortable and confident after improving his pace on a full fuel tank in practice, Smith’s challenge was ended prematurely when he crashed at Turn 9 while occupying seventh.
Today’s race might not have had the outcome Crutchlow and Smith had hoped for, but both have once again demonstrated their high potential in Brno and the British pair are now eagerly anticipating a return to form in front of their home fans at Silverstone next Sunday.
Cal Crutchlow (17th): “Obviously I am disappointed after qualifying in pole position but I had to push really hard to try and get away from Bautista and Rossi. Lorenzo made an incredible start and his first lap was really strong and that put us all under pressure. I was happy with my pace and I felt comfortable but then I made a mistake.
I was trying to get myself back in contention for the podium and I lost the front. I am sure I could have finished fourth but I got back on a damaged bike and set a fast and consistent pace and I never gave up. It is not the best preparation for my home race at Silverstone but I go there knowing I have the pace and that I can be challenging at the front.
I am really excited for Silverstone and I know the support from the British fans will be incredible, so hopefully I can give them something to cheer about.”
Bradley Smith (DNF): “The race ended far too soon and it is not the way we wanted a positive weekend to end. I don’t feel I did anything different in that corner and I felt comfortable and the bike felt very good. The improvements we made on a full fuel tank made the bike much better in the early part of the race but I got caught out in Turn 9. The data showed I accelerated a fraction earlier and those small margins can make all the difference.
Unfortunately the handlebar was broken so I couldn’t get back in the race. But in my rookie season this can happen when you are pushing to try and learn and build experience. At least I don’t have to wait long for Silverstone. I’m disappointed with today but highly motivated to build on the positive points we gained here. Racing at home is always special but this will be my first MotoGP race at Silverstone and I can’t wait.”