A CHALLENGING Italian MotoGP saw Coventry’s Cal Crutchlow climb from 16th place on the grid to an 11th place finish at the sumptuous Mugello circuit in the heart of Tuscany on Sunday.
The 30-year-old went into the weekend in high spirits having previously finished third in italy back in 2013 but a slip in qualifying saw him start towards the back of the grip for the 23-lap race.
Having got hung out to dry in the melee at the start, Crutchlow then suffered a small issue with his braking system which meant he was forced to nurse the bike throughout the race.
Crutchlow fought bravely throughout and as he made adjustments on the fly eventually managed to bring the back safely across the line to pick up five valuable points.
“It wasn’t too bad in the end,” said Crutchlow. “I felt after two or three laps that I had some sort of issue with a part of the bike but in the end I’m just happy to finish.
“There are no excuses, I finished 11th and I think without the issue I wouldn’t have been too much further up anyway. I got boxed out a little at the start and was unable to pass because of the speed of the bike.
“I finished though, and I felt there was a need to bring the bike home. We needed information and I did that although I did feel some problems towards the end of the race.
“I didn’t really feel on the limit at all, but I couldn’t push any more with the small problems I was having. I could do one lap fast, and then one lap not so fast because I was having to adjust things on the bike.
“Overall I’m happy enough to finish, and if I had been in a group I could have possibly gone quicker, but I was never in a group! I played it quite calm over the first ten laps, managed the situation and made sure I finished.”
Lucio Cecchinello, LCR Honda team principal, said: “It was a tough grand prix, because the weather was so hot and we had some small issues with the braking system, but Cal managed to finish the race which was important.
“Of course, I would have preferred to see Cal in the top ten or even better but we have to accept the result and make a plan now to make sure we give him a better bike.”
Five points moves Crutchlow up to 19th in the MotoGP World Championship rankings and his team now move on to Barcelona for the Grand Prix of Catalunya in two weeks time.
Cecchinello added: “We will all be hoping for better results in the coming races, and we are fully motivated to make sure that happens. We know our weaknesses and we will be working hard with our partners and Honda to improve things over the next few weeks.”