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Le Mans: Crutchlow - Coughing blood to podium champagne
20 May 2013
Cal Crutchlow claimed his best ever result as a MotoGP rider with second place in Sunday's French MotoGP at Le Mans.
And he did it just one day after suffering a small fracture to his right shin in an accident that also left him coughing blood on the side of the racetrack.
“I have a small crack in the top of the shin bone, so when I walk it hurts but on the bike it's not so bad and when the adrenaline is going it's no problem,” said Crutchlow.
“I was more concerned for the chest and stomach because I coughed a lot of blood yesterday and also I had a big nose bleed.
“So I'm thankful to the circuit for the red flag [after the fall] because I was lying on the floor with blood in the helmet and I didn't know what the situation was, so I stayed on the floor.”
Less than an hour later Crutchlow claimed fourth on the grid in the dry qualifying session. The race day rain then reduced the strain on his injuries, and gave him a chance to make amends for last year's accident in the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team's home race.
“Wet conditions were easier on my body, although I was quietly confident for the dry as well,” said Crutchlow.
“But I knew if it was a wet race I could try and make amends for last year, when the same three of us - me, Valentino [Rossi] and Dovi - were battling in the same wet conditions.”
Crutchlow overtook factory Yamaha star Rossi for third place at the halfway mark of the 28 laps, then passed Dovizioso's Ducati for second with five laps to go - just as Marc Marquez was closing in.
“Last year I crashed out of the battle. We were in those same positions again and I was thinking 'just stay on board and stay smooth'. I knew I wanted to bide my time, but I was very conscious because I had the gap to Marc from behind. I knew he was coming.
“It's definitely nice to beat those guys. They are world class. I think in this condition we proved we can fight very well.
“I felt confident and comfortable. I had a big problem to warm the tyre at the start, but when the tyre was warm I felt comfortable and rode smooth. It's difficult to change gear with the Yamaha when the rear wheel is spinning a lot but we took care about that.
“But the bike is working good. In the dry and wet I'm happy with the bike. This is a great reward for the team at their home grand prix.”
Crutchlow's podium strengths his position as the top satellite rider and moves him to fourth in the world championship standings, ahead of Rossi.
Pol Espargaro, the rider linked with Crutchlow's seat for 2014, finished 20th after a fall in the Moto2 race.