Cal Crutchlow is getting ever-closer to his maiden MotoGP World Championship win after finishing just over a second from Marc Marquez in the German Grand Prix to notch up his fourth podium in five races.
Starting from the front row of the grid, Crutchlow says he was baulked by Marquez in the run to the opening bend, dropping him to sixth position and leaving him with work to do to bridge the gap.
Eventually, the Tech 3 Yamaha rider would get the better of Alvaro Bautista, Aleix Espargaro, Stefan Bradl and Valentino Rossi
ahead of him, but found himself 2.8secs adrift of Marquez with ten laps remaining.
Crutchlow mounted a late charge, but Marquez controlled the pace enough to ensure the gap never dipped to lower than 1.5secs, keeping his rival at bay to the chequered flag.
Despite missing out on the chance to challenge for victory, second position – ahead of factory Yamaha star Rossi – signals another marvellous performance by Crutchlow, not least because he suffered two large accidents during Friday practice.
“I tried my best. I came back to Marc, as close as I could and I never gave up,” he said. “I actually got a very good start. Marc got a bad start and came across a little into me. So I rolled off the throttle and then - same again! - I was sixth or something and had to make some passes.
“But I'm pleased with this result. The guys in the Monster Tech 3 team have done a fantastic job and we're finally able to consistently challenge towards the front in MotoGP.”
Reflecting on Marquez's performance ahead, Crutchlow insisted the absence of title rivals Dani Pedrosa
and Jorge Lorenzo
should not diminish the youngster's efforts, suggesting he could have won regardless.
“Marc rode fantastic, and Valentino also. I don't think Marc should discredit the result. Even though Dani and Jorge were not here, the pace showed - he was even faster than last year's race pace. So I believe the result could have been the same anyway.
“It's good to be up here, back on the podium. I'm physically drained from the whole weekend with two bad crashes. Thanks to everybody. Thanks to the fans. I never gave up and hopefully we can see a bit more of that in Laguna.”
Crutchlow has consolidated his fourth position in the standings, 31 points behind Marquez overall and six points ahead of Rossi.