Crutchlow: ‘I should’ve won’

Brave Brit claims tech trou­ble cost him the chance to bat­tle for glory at ac­tion-packed Ar­gen­tine GP

Motorcycle News (UK) - - News - SIMON PAT­TER­SON AT TER­MAS DE RIO HONDO MO­TOGP RE­PORTER simon.pat­ter­son@mo­tor­cy­cle­

Cal Crutchlow has come away from Sun­day’s Ar­gen­tinian Grand Prix pleased to have fi­nally re­turned to the podium af­ter a se­ries of dis­as­trous results – but dis­ap­pointed that he wasn’t able to chal­lenge for the win af­ter strug­gling with tech­ni­cal prob­lems.

Fin­ish­ing a race for the first time since he won the Aus­tralian Grand Prix back in Oc­to­ber, the LCR Honda rider was on fine form dur­ing the 25-lap bat­tle, do­ing well to stick with race-leader Mav­er­ick Viñales and to hold off the at­ten­tions of Valentino Rossi un­til the fi­nal stages of the race.

The two-times race win­ner in 2016 told MCN that while he was pleased with his per­for­mance, he be­lieves that if cir­cum­stances out­side of his con­trol (the de­tails of which he wouldn’t fully di­vulge) hadn’t played a fac­tor, he could have chal­lenged Viñales.

“It was an easy race, be­cause I didn’t push too hard as I couldn’t brake how I wanted to. I think it was pos­si­ble for me to beat Mav­er­ick, but I had to man­age the sit­u­a­tion. It was very dif­fi­cult through­out the race, es­pe­cially when some­one is on your arse like Vale was!

“Mav­er­ick came past and I tried to fol­low him and man­age things, then I saw Vale +0, Vale +0, Vale +0 and knew I had to push – and then the warn­ing light came on. I slowed down, tried to man­age the sit­u­a­tion, but when Vale came past he seemed to have a lit­tle more grip than me.

“I wasn’t push­ing so hard, but I had to use some tricks to make sure we fin­ished. I could do the same lap times, and I could have prob­a­bly caught Mav­er­ick, but I wouldn’t have fin­ished.”

The race wasn’t an easy one for any of the Honda riders, though, with Crutchlow the top ma­chine as both fac­tory Rep­sol Honda riders crashed out – some­thing that high­lights just how dif­fi­cult the 2017 RC213V is.

“I’ve rid­den a cross­plane crank en­gine be­fore, and this is en­gine dif­fer­ent to that. It does some things bet­ter – we can pick up the throt­tle eas­ier and it feels like we have some more power this year, but it’s even more un­ride­able.

“Phys­i­cally, the last five laps were de­mand­ing even though I wasn’t push­ing that hard, be­cause this thing is shak­ing all over the place in the brak­ing zone.”

But Cal comes away from the race happy to have re­deemed him­self af­ter crash­ing twice last time out in Qatar.

“I think we did a good job to man­age the sit­u­a­tion and bring the bike home in a podium po­si­tion. It’s nice to start the sea­son with a podium in the first two races, and I’m pleased for the team af­ter what hap­pened in Qatar.”

‘ The last five laps were de­mand­ing be­cause it was all over the place’

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