Cal Crutchlow heads for this weekend's Japanese MotoGP buoyed by a debut Ducati podium last time at Aragon.

Crutchlow used changeable dry-wet conditions to catapult from sixth to third after his bike swap, almost elbowing into second as he raced Aleix Espargaro to the finish line.

Crutchlow's previous Ducati best was a sixth in round one and he is only twelfth in the standings, but the result means he will at least have some silverware to show for an often miserable season.

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To put that into perspective, a top three trophy eluded the likes of Sete Gibernau and Marco Melandri during their single seasons at the Factory Ducati team, while Crutchlow's present team-mate Andrea Dovizioso took until year two for a rostrum.

"With a good result at Aragon under our belt, we are looking forward to going to Japan, where I've got a lot of fans, and hopefully we can keep improving," said Crutchlow.

"I'm pleased with the work the guys in the team have done with me recently, and obviously now we are in better shape than what we were before. Motegi is a bit of a strange track because of its hard braking, but that's good for me and it will be interesting to see how we go there."

Crutchlow is moving to LCR Honda at the end of this year and so, unlike Dovizioso and his 2015 replacement Andrea Iannone, the Englishman does not have access to the latest GP14.2 machine.

It's a situation Crutchlow says he understands, although after scoring the Aragon podium Crutchlow 'begged Gigi [Dall'Igna] for one thing', understood to be some revised aerodynamic parts for the remaining rounds.

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:Cal would be in his usual place had other not crashed. Cal's podium was not result of his ability but what happened to other riders.[\blockquote]

This is true - the five that crashed would have otherwise finished ahead of Cal and he would have been 8th.
However, they did crash whilst Cal brought the bike home in difficult conditions and kept his head when others were losing theirs.
Credit where credit is due.