Cal Crutchlow acknowledges he needs to improve his performances on Saturday afternoon in order to 'make it easier on ourselves' in the MotoGP races.

The 29-year old rode to a lonely fourth place in Sunday's 27-lap race and was unable to make any impression on Valentino Rossi in third after he moved past Pol Espargaro from a third row start.

"We need to start making it easier on ourselves and qualify on the front row," said Crutchlow, who remains sixth in the championship standings. "If we had qualified on the front row... there were 3.2 seconds we lost just in that battle. 3.2 seconds at the start of the race would have put us in the front guys and closer to Valentino as well."

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Crutchlow's mid-race was also disrupted when he selected the wrong electronic setting on his handlebar. Despite losing some seconds, the CWM Honda rider knew he already had a top four spot secured.

"I pressed the wrong ones! Instead of pressing once I pressed twice. I pressed the power control for the engine braking by accident. Then I was happy to lose one second a lap to try some things and then gain it the next lap. When I wanted to do a lap time I could do it. If I lost some tenths to Pol the next lap I could take eight tenths out of him.

"I never felt threatened in any way. I could see Valentino ahead of me and with ten laps left there was no point to continue to push. The last thing the team said to me was 'it's a long race, make sure you finish.' We did a good job in my eyes. We were a lot further ahead than the other 'Factory' satellite Honda on the grid."

Having complained of flu-like symptoms on Friday evening, Crutchlow revealed his physical condition wasn't a real hinderance in the race. Further adaption to his new chassis and qualifying improvements, he believes, will be key to finishing closer to the front.

"In my eyes at the moment we're a little behind in some areas. We want to improve on them with the data from the race then we can try and improve when I feel better physically. I didn't feel weak in the race, I felt ok. I never had the ability to really push. I felt quite good on the bike. Then I just managed the gap to Pol.

"I always thought qualifying was one of the strongest points in my career and I still believe that. We've had four races and I've made four mistakes in qualifying. Or we've had a problem in qualifying in two of them. I need to improve there and make sure we can capitalise and get away from the start with the guys.

"It makes it a hell of a lot easier than to come from far back. Especially here. You can destroy the tyre in one lap if you want. I didn't destroy it today but I hammered it."