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