Cal Crutchlow defied his satellite status to be a frontrunner for much of the Qatar MotoGP weekend and was in the thick of an exciting podium fight until a late mistake.

Starting second on the grid, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider spent much of the grand prix shadowing Repsol Honda riders Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez for the runner-up position.

Valentino Rossi caught the group in the closing stages, the Italian using his Factory power to ride around Crutchlow along the main straight.

The Englishman promptly speared straight on at turn one, ending his involvement in the podium contest. However the incident didn't cost him any further positions and Crutchlow remained the top satellite rider in fifth.

"After the way I had been performing in practice and qualifying, finishing fifth is a little bit frustrating," confessed Crutchlow. "My pace was promising and I think I would have deserved to be on the podium, but it was clear to see that I was lacking a bit of speed on the straight.

"That meant I had to push hard to close the gap in the corners and if we can resolve that small issue I've no doubt I can have the possibility to really challenge the guys at the front.

"It was a good battle with Dani and Marc but I just get close enough to them to try and make a pass, but credit to Valentino because I was over three seconds clear of him and he caught and passed me. He rode awesome but so did Jorge, who proved yet again that he is going to be the man to beat.

"It was a great night for Yamaha but also for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team because I showed that I can battle for the podium. The top four are the best riders on the best bikes but I pushed them as hard as I could until the small mistake stopped me.

"I'm best of the rest and that's pleasing and hopefully I can be up there again in Austin."

Rookie team-mate Bradley Smith crashed out.


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