CAL STRIKES GOLD

Crutchlow takes stun­ning Brno GP vic­tory – end­ing Barry Sheene’s 35-year record

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Front Page - SI­MON PAT­TER­SON IN CZECH REPUB­LIC MO­TOGP RE­PORTER si­mon.pat­ter­son@mo­tor­cy­cle­news.com

Cal Crutchlow took a stun­ning Mo­togp vic­tory in the Czech Grand Prix to fi­nally bring an end to the 35-year Brit win drought that has stretched back to when Barry Sheene won the Swedish Grand Prix in 1981.

Crutchlow’s em­phatic vic­tory was the re­sult of his usual de­ter­mi­na­tion and tenac­ity, com­bined with an in­spired tyre choice that saw the LCR Honda rider fin­ish ahead of fac­tory stars Valentino Rossi and Marc Mar­quez.

“I went to the grid with a soft front and rear, but I re­ally didn’t be­lieve the soft rear would last the race,” he grinned. “I be­lieved with the track con­di­tions the hard front would be OK, but I was more con­cerned with the rear. I took the de­ci­sion on the grid and the team backed me.”

Start­ing the race on hard tyres front and rear – a bet only Tito Rabat and Loris Baz also made – Crutchlow ini­tially dropped back from his 10th po­si­tion on the grid as the Miche­lins came up to speed – but once he got go­ing, he never looked back.

“The only risk in the race for me was at the start. Valentino and I were strug­gling on the warm-up lap, and it was dif­fi­cult not to get frus­trated in those first five laps as they tyres came up to tem­per­a­ture.

“Af­ter that, though, I felt good. I could have gone even faster - when I did my fastest laps, I was rolling the throt­tle and not push­ing that hard. The only places I was push­ing were in a few of the dry brak­ing zones.”

And once he got up to speed, the Isle of Man res­i­dent de­liv­ered a mas­ter­class in how to win a wet race as he cut his way through the field from 15th to first – even if team boss Lu­cio Cecchinello was try­ing fran­ti­cally to slow his rider down!

“It was a long race - es­pe­cially with Lu­cio hang­ing over the pit wall jump­ing up and down. If I could have taken my hand off the bar I’d have stuck my fin­ger up at him to say ‘hey, go back in the garage and have a cof­fee or some­thing!’

“But I was play­ing with them, be­cause I had so much grip com­pared to the other guys; I was ba­si­cally just cruis­ing around. I made the right choice and knew the race would come to me.”

But in typ­i­cal Crutchlow man­ner, in­stead of wait­ing on it to come to him, Cal in­stead launched a charge through the grid, barely even paus­ing for breath as he snatched the lead from An­drea Ian­none with seven laps re­main­ing.

“I was quite cau­tious when I caught Marc – he’s a Honda rider and he’s lead­ing the cham­pi­onship! I had to be care­ful. I thought that if I passed him on the hill it would be bet­ter than a lunge.

“But the only risk I had when I caught Ian­none was that I thought Valentino was com­ing, and I didn’t know then if he was on the hard front tyre too. I saw the gap go out though and knew I could ease away.”

And now, with his home race only weeks away, Crutchlow is rel­ish­ing his trip to Sil­ver­stone hav­ing shown such fine form.

“I did think about maybe ne­go­ti­at­ing some com­mis­sion of the ticket money!” he joked. “I think the cir­cuit is a lit­tle bet­ter for our bike than some­where like Brno, be­cause a lot of the cor­ners are al­ready rolling so the ac­cel­er­a­tion is not so bad. In the faster stuff we are a bit more com­pet­i­tive though, and hope­fully we can be com­pet­i­tive again.”

‘I had so much grip com­pared to the oth­ers. I was cruis­ing round’ CAL CRUTCHLOW ‘I could have gone faster. I was rolling off the throt­tle’ CAL CRUTCHLOW

Good things come to those who wait. Cal played a blinder to win in his 98th Mo­togp

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