CAL Crutchlow maintained he recent impressive form in the MotoGP after celebrating a fifth-place finish in Sunday’s Grand Prix of Aragon.
The Coventry-born rider finished as the Top Independent Team rider for LCR Honda for the fifth time in the last six races.
Crutchlow, who started from fifth on the grid, was caught up in the pack at the start and he made a decision to take the inside line into the first corner pushing him out to the edge of the track into turn two.
Having briefly lost touch as he waited for his tyres to come up to temperature, the 30-year-old gradually chipped away at the riders in front, passing Dovizioso on lap nine, before getting through on Aleix Espargaro two laps later.
Crutchlow then stalked his factory Honda colleague Dani Pedrosa, before comfortably getting through on the Spaniard on lap 19 to seal his fourth top-five finish in the last six races.
“I struggled at the start to get the rear tyre to work,” said Crutchlow. “This has been a problem over the weekend, some hard tyres work immediately, and others not.
“Then I got held up behind Dani, Dovi and Aleix, and with the speed of our bike we had no chance.
“I tried to be able to fight with them in the early laps and get past, but Dani was just accelerating off the corner a little better than me and I never got the run on him.
“I had to leave it too long to pass and in the end I felt my pace was as good as the second to fourth-placed guys, but it was a little bit too late.”
The result moves Crutchlow up to sixth place in the standings where he is the top independent runner on 105 points. There are four rounds still to come in the championship, starting with the Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi in three weeks’ time.
“The LCR Honda team did a really good job all weekend I really thought I could have been on the front row and then I made the mistake,” Crutchlow added.
“Then on Sunday I felt I had a good shot at the podium, but I just never got away with them. In MotoGP when that happens you get punished, it’s hard to come back from a long way back.
“It was an enjoyable race though, and overall we are happy because top five in a MotoGP race at Aragon is not bad, but I would have preferred a podium!”