CAL Crutchlow is happy with his seventh place finish at the opening round of the MotoGP World Championship in Qatar as he began life with new team CWM LCR Honda.
The Coventry-born rider was forced to start 12th on the grid at the Losail International Circuit on Sunday after a crach in qualifying.
But the 29-year-old picked up the pace after a solid start and made his way through the riders ahead of him.
Crutchlow was suffering with rear grip issues which hindered his attempts to stick with the likes of Honda duo Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosam, but he did finish as the team’s top satellite rider after placing seventh.
“I think to come away with a seventh place we can be very happy.” said Crutchlow. “It was a good start to the season considering I don’t have any experience racing the Honda.
“The guys I was battling with have been riding a factory Honda for a lot longer than me, and we all saw that they struggled too.
“Being just over a second behind Dani Pedrosa and five behind Marc Marquez shows that we were all struggling for rear grip in Qatar.
“I think this was about our pace for the weekend anyway, and I made it hard for myself with some mistakes early on in the race, but my pace was consistently good. If I had have got away with the guys in front I could possibly have been around fourth or fifth.”
The next round of the championship continues in Austin, Texas, USA in two weeks time where Crutchlow is confident he can move up the rankings.
He added: “For Austin we have to improve, take our comments from this race and see what we can achieve there.
“It’s going to be difficult to challenge the guys at the front there, but it’s a learning curve for us. I don’t think we’ve done a bad job at all, and we come away happy.”