Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Cal Crutchlow gave himself the perfect early birthday present when he scorched to a stunning podium finish in this afternoon's AirAsia Australian Grand Prix. The British rider turns 27 tomorrow (Monday) and he kicked off the celebrations early after a fantastic ride to third position in front of a record crowd of 53,100 fans packed into the spectacular Phillip Island track. After Dani Pedrosa's early crash out of the lead on the second lap, Crutchlow brilliantly kept Monster Yam aha Tech 3 teammate Andrea Dovizioso, Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl at bay in an exciting early battle for third place.
Crutchlow was still feeling below 100% after being struck down by a nasty bout of bronchitis earlier in the weekend, but he was able to maintain a fast and consistent pace in sunny but cool conditions to bring his YZR-M1 machine in a richly deserved third position.
It was Crutchlow's second rostrum finish off a fantastic second season in MotoGP and today's result means he still has an o utside chance of claiming a top five finish in the overall World Championship standings with one round remaining.
With Crutchlow riding off into the distance in third, it was left to Dovizioso to provide the most entertaining battle of the 27-lap race. His pulsating fight with Bautista and Bradl went right down to the wire, with Dovizioso starting the final lap at the tail of the group in sixth.
The Italian's race craft and experience came to the fore though and in the decisive final moments he was able to pass both Bradl and Bautista to finish fourth. It was the 15th time in 17 races that Dovizioso has finished inside the top five and he heads to the final round in Valencia optimistic that he can end the season with a strong finish.
Cal Crutchlow - Position 3rd - Time +14.570
“I am really happy with this result because it is a great way to finish this period of three races in a row. After the disappointment of running out of fuel while battling for the podium on the last lap in Japan and then crashing in Sepang, I really needed a positive result here and that's what we've got. Considering how ill I've felt with the fever and bronchitis, to be back on the podium is a fantastic feeling and we definitely deserved it. The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team gave me a great bike all weekend and I was very confident and calm when in front of Andrea, Bautista and Bradl. I knew I could go faster and pull away and once I opened up a comfortable gap, I just stayed relaxed and consistent because I wasn't going to catch Jorge. Another podium is a great result and we've backed up the third in Brno. It's great too because it is my birthday tomorrow and this is a good way to kick off the celebrations. It was a big thrill to be on the podium here with Casey winning. The fans gave him a great reception and I'm glad I could be part of it. I want to say big congratulations to Yamaha and Jorge too for winning the World Championship. They have done an amazing job and they both deserve this success.”
Andrea Dovizioso - Position 4th - Time +23.303
“I knew that it was going to be a tough race because I didn't had the same pace as Cal. All I could do was to try during the first laps to get in front of him or to put him under pressure but it was not possible. He was riding very well so I decided the best strategy was not to take too many risks. The battle with Bradl and Bautista was really exciting and I had a lot of fun. I'm sure the fans appreciated it as well because we were pushing and changing places for the whole race. I am satisfied to fi nish in front of the group and it was a strong battle right to the chequered flag. My next race in Valencia is the last for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team, so I go there with high motivation and determination to get a strong result to end our successful relationship in a positive way.”
Hervé Poncharal - Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team Manager “That was an incredible afternoon because Cal finished on the podium, the local hero won in front of a record crowd and Jorge and Yamaha clinched the World Championship. The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team did a really good job. They both made a really strong start and it was impressive to see Cal pull away from the group with Andrea, Bautista and Bradl. His pace was very close to Jorge and after the disappointment of Japan and Malaysia this was a great way to bounce back. Cal was very consistent for the whole race and he never made any mistakes. He maintained his concentration and I think he deserved this result because he kept on pushing all weekend when he was far from his physical best because of the illness. Andrea also had a strong race and it was definitely an epic fight with Bautista and Bradl. The crowd certainly got entertained but Andrea was very smart on the final lap. He showed his experience, cleverness and coolness to pass both of them and fourth place is another incredibly strong result. Today's stunning race ensured we have secured third position in the Team World Championship and this is an outstanding achievement for a non-factory team. It highlights the incredible job Cal and Andrea have done as well as the great support we get from Yamaha. I also want to congratulate Yamaha and Jorge for the World Championship. Together they really did a fantastic job during the season and I'm delighted to see them win the first 1000cc title.”
Source: Yamaha Racing