The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team celebrated its first double top 10 result of the 2013 MotoGP campaign in Jerez today, with Cal Crutchlow riding to a heroic fifth place and rookie Bradley Smith storming to a maiden top 10 finish.
Crutchlow displayed phenomenal determination and bravery to bounce back from two heavy crashes yesterday to maintain his 100% record of finishing every race inside the top five this season.
In scenes reminiscent of their titanic battle for the podium in Japan last October, Bautista seized fifth from Crutchlow on lap 11. But riding through the pain barrier in gruelling heat that saw temperatures hit 27 degrees under clear blue skies, Crutchlow fought back superbly to take back fifth on lap 17.
He then produced a master class in aggressive riding to streak away from Bautista and claim a third successive top five finish by almost three seconds. Bradley Smith produced an equally impressive ride to come tantalizingly close to registering his first top 10 finish in MotoGP.
For the majority of the 27-lap race he was locked in the biggest battle on track for eighth position with Andrea Dovizioso, Aleix Espargaro and Michele Pirro. Smith moved into the top 10 on lap 24 with a clinical move to get by Pirro and at that stage he was 1.770s behind Espargaro.
He produced a stunning late charge to cut the Spaniard’s advantage to less than a second but just as he was lining up an attack to claim ninth the chequered flag came out.
Cal Crutchlow (5th, +12.663): “Fifth place today is not a bad result considering everything that has gone on before but it’s not exactly what we expected. I was fast all weekend but after the two crashes yesterday I think it’s a very good result to remain the best of the rest.
I did not feel very confident with the front-end in the race, but I think all Yamaha’s struggled in this area. I think in the middle of the race my pace was good and I started to push but with the full fuel tank I could not stop the bike and I had no grip, so I lost quite a bit of time in the early laps.
Physically I had no problem on the bike for the race distance although I had a little bit of pain in my lower back. It has been a difficult weekend in many respects so I am very satisfied with fifth because probably last year I would not have finished the race in the same situation and that’s for sure an improvement.”
Bradley Smith (10th, +44.461): “I’m obviously happy with my first top 10 result because conditions for the race were different compared to the rest of the weekend. The lap times were relatively slow and the temperature meant the grip was quite low, so it was a big learning experience for me.
Riding these bikes with that little grip needs a different style, so I had to adapt at the beginning of the race. From the middle stages I felt comfortable and I’m a little disappointed to be beaten again by Espargaro but it’s nice to be at least closer than last time in Austin.
I just ran out of time at the end of the race because I was catching him very quickly. In Austin I was 50 seconds behind the winner and here the deficit is 44 seconds, so that’s definitely a positive and our aim for the future will be to keep reducing the gap.
I’m really looking forward to the test tomorrow. It will be another learning experience for me and it will be nice to test on a track where we’ve just had a race and where I feel now really comfortable on the bike.
Tomorrow we will be able to test a few different parts and understand actually what’s working better and what does not. So all in all it has been a positive weekend with improvements in every session.”
Yamaha Tech 3 Team