By Stephen English

Cal Crutchlow missed out on a Phillip Island podium by just 0.116s, but still claimed his best result in eight races.

The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider pulled into the pits to switch bikes on lap 10 of the unique 19-lap Australian Grand Prix format, prompted by tyre overheating issues.

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Crutchlow then continued a tense tussle with Valentino Rossi and Alvaro Bautista. With rain spots falling on the final lap, Crutchlow missed out on his first rostrum since Germany by just over 0.1s to Factory Yamaha star Rossi.

Reflecting on his race, Crutchlow said: "I was disappointed to lose a position in the pit lane, we changed bike with no problem but it seemed that the pit limiters were at a different speed.

"There was a lot of leniency, especially with the Ducatis which were 5 km/h faster in the pitlane, so obviously that played into some people's hands a bit.

"But we did a good job and changed over without problem and got away. We lost a bit of time to the leaders on the first flying lap but I was in the battle with Valentino and Alvaro and I enjoyed it.

"For sure I'm a bit disappointed not to have gotten a podium, but to be honest I'd have only been there because of what happened to Marc. Being truthful I didn't know it was the last lap. I couldn't see my pitboard on the outside of Valentino but it's my own fault.

"Maybe if I had known I would have taken a bit more risk but I'm happy to have passed Alvaro for fourth."

Asked about the first ever compulsory MotoGP pit stops, the Englishman added:

"If you try and ride a bike at full racing pace that you haven't been riding for the rest of the weekend it's difficult. Me and Valentino had a scary moment because we couldn't heat up the brakes.

"But it was the best solution - MotoGP, Dorna and Bridgestone did a good job to find a solution. Everyone could race, the rules were the same for everyone and the crowd got to see a race."

The result strengthens Crutchlow's grasp on fifth place in the world championship, as the top satellite rider, over Gresini Honda's Bautista with two rounds to go.