MotoGP Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda
Cal Crutchlow, now in his second season with LCR Honda team, took second podium at the German Grand Prix. After the podium ceremony, the Brit jokingly expressed his happiness, and unhappiness.
“Obviously my first thought is it's great to have a podium, but now the second thought is I'm disappointed I didn't win. Marc (Marquez) got lucky again!”
Since the season opener in Qatar, Crutchlow consistently demonstrated his speed and competitiveness in every race weekend, however, it did not come with good results. In Catalunya, circumstances started to turn his way. In this race, Crutchlow started from seventh on the grid and finished sixth. In the following Dutch TT, he started fifth on the second row, but heavy rain caused him to crash during the race. Another difficult race followed in Germany, where under flag-to-flag conditions, Crutchlow battled in the leading group and managed to cross the line in second place.
“Honestly speaking, my team did great job, with the great job on the tire choice when I finally pitted. You always have that question mark, 'what if I'd have pitted earlier?’ But I honestly didn't look at my pit board, I just followed the two guys in front of me, which were Dovi and Vale. I knew they have the experience to be in the front in MotoGP, so I just followed them."
It is his first podium this season, after finishing third at Argentina in 2015.
“It's been a long time coming. It's been a difficult year so far. We know our bike has been quite difficult to ride, but Honda put in a great, great effort and in the last races I feel more comfortable on the bike and the bike's coming better. Obviously the second half of the year I think we'll be able to hopefully back up this result a few other times.”
‘A few other times’ came true, maybe quicker than expected.
Under wet conditions during the Czech race, the LCR Honda rider who had started from tenth position on the grid, on harder compound front and rear wet tires, chased down the leaders and celebrated his maiden MotoGP victory. At the beginning of the month, Critchlow celebrated the birth of his first daughter. And, he also became the first British rider to win in thirty-five years since Barry Sheene had won in Sweden in 1986. Critchlow had, in many ways, rewritten the history books.
“(In the opening laps) it was quite difficult to pass some of these riders on acceleration, because I was still spinning quite a lot with water on the ground, But as soon as it dried, I could see the leaders. And I knew, OK, if I can see the leaders (in the wet) then we have a chance. Normally after five laps, I can't see the leaders anyway! When I got to the other guys, they were suffering more and more, and I was faster and faster. So at this moment, I thought ‘all I have to do is finish and I will win the race.’”
After the race, everyone asked Crutchlow how the MotoGP maiden victory felt like, and he expressed his feelings very straight-forwardly.
“I won last six years ago (in SBK) and I won a few bicycle races in between and that’s it. I really feel that the biggest emotion I had was three weeks ago when my daughter was born, so I don't think it compares in that sense. But, that being said, it's the best day of my racing career and the best emotion of my racing career. Hopefully it can happen again, soon.”
’Soon,’ should be very soon.