By Neil Morrison

Cal Crutchlow guaranteed his position as top satellite rider in the 2013 MotoGP Championship after a seventh place finish at the penultimate round in Motegi.

Having labelled Saturday afternoon's 75-minute qualifying session a "complete disaster" Crutchlow battled against an overheating front brake disc and a wrong tyre choice to end the day seventh, his worst finish since the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

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The 2.9-mile Motegi circuit has never been kind to Crutchlow, particularly in 2012 when he ran out of fuel while battling for a podium finish. His luck wouldn't improve this year as his 340mm front brake disc began overheating as early as the first lap, forcing the 27-year old to ease into the race.

After a tight battle with Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team-mate Bradley Smith, Crutchlow pulled clear for seventh, albeit 27 seconds behind eventual winner Jorge Lorenzo.

"It was a very difficult race because from the first lap I realised I was having an issue with the front brake overheating and choosing the harder rear tyre was not the best choice," he said.

"Bradley used the softer tyre and in the first few laps, the problem with the brake meant I was having to focus on not running into the back of him.

"My tyre was good for the second half of the race and I could pass Bradley but when Valentino came through he was a bit faster. We were just missing a few things to be more competitive but even with the soft tyre like Lorenzo, I wasn't going to be racing at his pace."

On the positive side his seventh position was enough to guarantee fifth in the championship and the highest placed rider on a satellite machine, a fantastic reward for his efforts.

"The positive is with today's result assured the fifth position in the Championship, and my target before the first race was to finish best non-factory rider. Now we can go home and get some rest after a tough period before trying to end the season strongly in Valencia."

2013 is Crutchlow's third year in MotoGP. He finished twelfth and then seventh overall in the previous seasons and is moving to the Factory Ducati team for 2014.