Fantastic farewell for Crutchlow with victory at Magny Cours
Yamaha Sterilgarda World Superbike YZF-R1 rider Cal Crutchlow wrapped up his year in the World Superbike Championship in style today, taking two classic podiums with a race win and a second place. The thrilling first race at the Magny Cours circuit saw a seamless performance by Crutchlow. The Moto GP bound rider dealt with his penultimate WSB race in style, taking a clear victory nearly four seconds ahead of closest rider Leon Haslam at the line. Crutchlow had dropped off pole initially to fourth but recovered quickly on the second lap, passing both Sylvain Guintoli and Michele Fabrizio in one clean move to take second behind race leader Max Biaggi. He made his move on Biaggi on lap eight; a sequence of corners saw the two fight for position before Crutchlow closed the door and moved into the lead which he held to the end.
Race two saw him drop off the line initially to sixth before moving back through to challenge Sylvain Guintoli for second, eventually passing the French rider on lap 14 and moving on to close down race leader Max Biaggi. The remaining race laps passed with Crutchlow averaging a tiny 0.2 second gap between himself and Biaggi although he was unable to pass for the win, taking his second podium of the day with a well earned second place after crossing the line just 0.087 behind the Italian rider.
The fastest lap of both races was taken by Crutchlow, giving him eight fastest race laps for the year, beating Carlos Checa to take the Pirelli Best Lap Award 2010: Fastest Rider of the Year. He leaves the championship in fifth place in the final standings just 13 points adrift of Checa in third. He can also claim Rookie of the Year with three race wins, six Superpoles and ten podiums.
Team mate James Toseland made a strong start from 15th on the grid in race one, moving up six places to ninth in just one lap. The British rider then unfortunately lost the front through the Estoril corner and was unable to continue. Race two saw more misfortune for what is also Toseland's last Yamaha Sterilgarda appearance. A strong start saw him move up to eighth on the first lap, then climb again to sixth which he held until lap four when he crashed coming through the final chicane onto the start finish straight. Toseland wraps up the 2010 World Championship in ninth place in the standings with 187 points.
Cal Crutchlow, Yamaha Sterilgarda World Superbike Team (1st, 2nd)
"It was two really close and enjoyable races today. All credit to Max, he rode really well. To have +0 on the board every lap is a big pressure so he did fantastically. He is the championship winner so to be battling with him at the end is good for me. Finishing fifth is not too bad, I'm Rookie of the Year as well. I came into the championship with high expectations, Yamaha has done a great job and I'm pleased with the end results. The team have been fantastic so I owe them all a big thank you along with all the sponsors and everyone that's made it possible for us to go out there and give it our best this year."
James Toseland, Yamaha Sterilgarda World Superbike Team (DNF, DNF)
"Today has not been the finale that I'd hoped for at one of my favourite circuits but that just seems to be the way that this year has gone. I'd like to thank Yamaha Sterilgarda and all of the team for their hard work throughout the season and the support from the fans, I'll be back."
Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha Sterilgarda World Superbike Team Manager
"I think Cal found the best way to leave this championship, taking pole and taking a race win and a podium. He pushed really hard and didn't make any mistakes apart from his crash on Friday morning. I think it was impossible to do better. On the other side of the garage, I think James was trying to push as hard as he could today but maybe too far and made two mistakes. For us the weekend was really positive and we come away from Magny Cours having kept our record of performing well here."
Laurens Klein Koerkamp, Racing Manager, Yamaha Motor Europe
"We had a difficult start of the season but had made great improvements already by the second round. Honestly speaking I think we've had a lot of bad luck this year while battling at the front, including crashes beyond our riders control like at Monza. In the end we've finished the season really strongly with Cal as the number one rookie, winning three races and eight fastest race laps of all riders, showing the strength of the bike and the team and earning him a deserved ride next year in MotoGP with Yamaha. This means we've reached one of our targets as a team to nurture and bring new talent through to MotoGP. We know our bike is strong, we have room for more development and for sure we will be ready for the next season much earlier that we were this year, we have a lot of ideas for our upcoming tests with two fresh riders; Eugene Laverty - young and talented and new to superbike, and Marco Melandri; talented with a wealth of experience, we think this is going to be a great mix for next season. I have to thank the team who have worked incredibly hard this year and wish the best of luck to both James and Cal for the next year."