Cal Crutchlow admits he is 'very disappointed' to see a potential career-best second place finish in the Valencia Grand Prix go wanting after being caught out by a crash in tricky weather conditions.
The Tech 3 Yamaha rider has endured a mixed conclusion to the 2012 season, the highs of his maiden podiums at Brno and Phillip Island tempered with DNFs in five of the last eight races, including Valencia.
Indeed, Crutchlow appeared on course for his best-ever finish at MotoGP
level as his decision to follow Dani Pedrosa
into the pit lane at the end of the warm-up lap for slick tyres appeared to be reaping dividends.
Progressing all the way to second place behind Pedrosa, Crutchlow was comfortable in the position when he struck a wet patch on the approach to the final corner on lap 23, sending him down into the gravel trap and out of the race.
A bitter disappointment for Crutchlow, who missed the chance to leapfrog Valentino Rossi
for sixth overall in the standings with his failure to finish, the Briton is nonetheless happy to have shown podium-winning pace once more.
"Obviously I am very disappointed to finish the season like that,” he said. “I wasn't sure whether to start on wet tyres but I saw Dani pit and just followed him.
“Going to slicks was obviously the right choice but although there was a dry line, in some places it was so narrow that you couldn't go off line to overtake because it was way too risky. Dani got through the pack quicker than me but once I got into a fast rhythm I felt really at ease.
“I had a comfortable lead over third and it was looking good for me to get my best MotoGP
result when I hit the smallest wet patch going into the final corner. It just flicked the bike enough to throw me off the left side and I was actually lucky not to get tangled up with the bike.
“It is a shame because I wasn't pushing that hard, but in those conditions we saw loads of people getting caught out. But once again I showed I was really fast and we take a lot of positives from the second half of the season.
“I've been on the podium twice and in the last races I've been right in the battle for the podium. I'd like to have had a few more finishes but I've shown my potential this year and that I am good enough to fight with the best in the world. I can now look forward to 2013 with a lot of confidence."
Crutchlow will enter into his third season with Tech 3 Yamaha in 2013, stepping up to the role of team leader and being joined by Moto2 graduate Bradley Smith.