CAL ON TOP!

Brit wins in Ar­gentina to take se­ries lead

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Front Page - By Si­mon Pat­ter­son MO­TOGP RE­PORTER @MCNNEWS mo­tor­cy­cle­news

While his fac­tory ri­vals lost the plot around him, Cal Crutchlow once again staked his claim as Bri­tain’s best with a stun­ning vic­tory in Sun­day’s Ar­gen­tine Grand Prix – be­com­ing the first Brit since Barry Sheene in 1979 to lead the premier class cham­pi­onship race.

Back­ing up strong pre-sea­son form and com­ing only two weeks af­ter he just missed out on a podium in the open­ing race of the sea­son in Qatar, Crutchlow’s third premier class vic­tory with the LCR Honda squad was a very dif­fer­ent win from his pre­vi­ous two.

Com­ing not thanks to tricky con­di­tions but due to out­right pace, the Isle of Man res­i­dent told MCN that Sun­day’s vic­tory has a very dif­fer­ent taste to it from his pre­vi­ous Mo­togp suc­cesses.

He said: “We’ve had pace all win­ter, we had pace in Qatar and we had pace in Ar­gentina so the win came as not that much of a sur­prise. I spoke to Lucy be­fore the race and she told me ‘you can eas­ily be on the podium and you can win,’ and with two laps of the race to go I re­alised that I was go­ing to be very hard to beat.

“Up un­til to­day my Phillip Is­land win was my best be­cause I dom­i­nated the race and Brno is deep in my heart be­cause it was my first, but Sun­day’s race was a lot more ex­pected. I had a good ad­van­tage all week­end and I had good pace in the race, which left me in a great po­si­tion to not have to take too many risks while still be­ing able to win the race. If I’d needed to, I could have gone to the front and rid­den away, but I didn’t need to be­cause I knew where I could make my over­takes.”

Let­ting Jack Miller, Alex Rins and Jo­hann Zarco scrap for the lead while sit­ting con­fi­dently be­hind them, Crutchlow was able to strike in the clos­ing laps to take the win. And, af­ter talk­ing the talk about po­ten­tially be­ing a cham­pi­onship con­tender be­fore the sea­son, the vic­tory means that he’s now walk­ing the walk.

“I still don’t think that I can just say ‘let’s go win the ti­tle’ be­cause of the re­sources that the fac­tory have. Honda con­tinue to help me, but I still think it would be a big ask to win it be­cause it’s so close. I don’t feel any dif­fer­ent lead­ing the cham­pi­onship – I didn’t even know un­til well af­ter the race. It’s good for the team, but it doesn’t mean that I go to Texas with any higher ex­pec­ta­tions that I would have had.”

It also once again opens up spec­u­la­tion about his fu­ture de­spite com­ing only days af­ter Crutchlow shut down talk of him tak­ing Dani Pe­drosa’s seat at Rep­sol Honda. With the Spa­niard re­port­edly in talks to leave Honda af­ter a decade, Pe­drosa’s de­par­ture could open the door for Crutchlow.

“You can see that I’m able to ride the bike in a good way, and it’s more that I think if you put some­one else like Zarco on the bike to re­place Dani they’d strug­gle a lot more than I would. To put any­one but a Honda rider on it would be dif­fi­cult. Dani is still a great rider and it’s a shame that he crashed, but we had bet­ter pace and the up­per hand over him all week­end.”

Cal pounced in the clos­ing stages to beat Zarco and Rins Cal is greeted with a hero’s wel­come in parc ferme

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.