Cal Crutchlow took heart from a fighting performance in Phillip Island, which saw him engaged in a race long duel with Dani Pedrosa and Maverick Vi?ales for fifth place.

Battling rear grip issues that plagued him throughout free practice and qualifying, Crutchlow eventually came home seventh, a placing that belied a competitive pace that took him to within nine seconds of eventual race winner Marc Marquez.

Not since Argentina in April had Crutchlow finished this close to the race winner but even then there was a hint of frustration with his final placing. Seventh ultimately didn't reflect his speed. More than that it didn't compare to his aims of a podium finish.

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"I was looking for the podium and we finished four places behind it and eight seconds away from it. I've been on the podium here ten seconds off the winner. Last year I was four seconds off the winner. It's just been so close this year. I rode to the limit of our package. I felt we made a good step but it wasn't big enough. We never had enough rear grip, it's as simple as that.

"Obviously at the start I tried to fight as best as possible and stay in there until the rear tyre dropped. Maverick Vi?ales couldn't even believe I finished the race with how much my bike was moving. Obviously I tried to fight for the position but he had a lot more grip. Maverick has ridden fantastic all weekend but I should probably have been ahead of Dani and in that battle at the front.

"We were a long way ahead of the other guys this weekend that I expected to be up there. They weren't there. We were consistent for the whole race except for the last three laps, when I just made sure I finished because I remembered last year".

On Saturday Crutchlow had said he had tried a variety of set-up tweaks to combat the chronic lack of rear grip. When that failed he tried changing his lines and re-working throttle application.

Come Sunday, grip wasn't totally paramount until the final third, when he felt as though he had "something really wrong" at the rear of his RC213V.

"The last eight or nine laps I thought there was something really wrong with it because it dropped so fast. I couldn't even ride around the corner. If I rolled off the throttle the rear just came around immediately. It wasn't the engine brake, it was just the rear grip.

"I was trying to do all the tricks of the trade with the Honda to make it grip and I was following Dani so I could see what he was doing. But it wasn't working for me. Marc rode superb to win the race but we know he's on a different chassis to us and has a few different things that are obviously better for his style or for the grip. Dani finds the grip because he's 50 kilos. I did the best job I could. My team did well this weekend. We worked hard the whole time but I wanted the podium and I expected one here.

"But we have to go to Malaysia and try to work hard again because there are two races left in the year. But we've showed we're still competitive and able to fight. I was fighting with Dani all of the race and it's not his best circuit but we weren't far from the leaders. Only when me and Dani started battling they got away from us. That's racing and I felt we had an average race today".

Asked where he was most affected by the lack of grip, Crutchlow pinpointed the long turn eleven that follows MG as a section that was repeatedly his undoing.

"The second to last corner I honestly couldn't even open the throttle. We need to look at why and assess the whole race. 27 laps is obviously different to doing five in practice. But we don't have time to do these 20-lap runs in practice.

"We have to make changes to the bike, we have to do the best job we can with the set-up. That's it. I'm happy enough with how far away we were from the winners but I'm not happy with the position at all".