This year's MotoGP World Championship has been sadly short of wheel-to-wheel battles towards the front of the field, but Alvaro Bautista and Cal Crutchlow certainly put on a show in their fight for third place last Sunday at Motegi.
Until Crutchlow ran out of fuel on the final lap.
“It's good that me and Alvaro were battling,” said Crutchlow. “It's what the championship needs. It's what the spectators want and what the riders want as well – we want a close battle as well.
“It was a good fight. Alvaro passed me. I passed him back. He passed me... It was lining up to be a great last lap. Shame I didn't make it.”
Crutchlow's DNF marked a disappointing end to an otherwise encouraging weekend.
“Motegi was a big disappointment because we did a great race and made a massive improvement over the weekend,” said Crutchlow.
“The team did a great job. We looked at the situation every night, we knew where we needed to improve and improved did it for the race.
“It's just a shame we didn't calculate we'd be going that fast, because it ended up meaning we didn't finish the race basically.”
Crutchlow's third non-score of the year means he has now slipped to seventh in the standings - but just nine points from fifth place Bautista - with three rounds to go.
“Compared to last year it's been a good season. Maybe our championship position doesn't reflect our pace. I think we've had a bit of bad luck, especially in the last race,” said Crutchlow, who claimed his first MotoGP rostrum at Brno.
“I'm pleased. We've made a good jump. Seventh is not where we should be and we look forward to the last three races and to next year as well.”