Silverstone pole hero Cal Crutchlow says he took a risk at the right time as the LCR Honda rider became the first Briton to claim pole on home turf since Barry Sheene in 1977.
Crutchlow, bristling with confidence after chalking up his first MotoGP victory in the wet last time out a Brno in the Czech Republic, set his best time on 2m 19.265s early in the session before conditions deteriorated and it proved enough to seal the top spot on the front row from Valentino Rossi, who was nine tenths back on the Movistar Yamaha.
“I didn't really honestly believe I was pushing that much. In the first sector I was not so fast and I had a little bit of a moment, then the rest of the lap I just tried to keep the lap together and said, 'on the next lap I'll push'. But on the next lap when I started to push I nearly crashed at turn one,” said Crutchlow.
“But then I looked at the lap time and saw that everyone else at that time was quite a lot slower, so I thought that maybe I was taking some risks. I cruised around for the rest of the qualifying thinking that if somebody starts to come a little bit faster, then I'll go, but I knew with the rain starting to come heavier it was a little bit more difficult.
“I saw Jack [Miller] crash in front of me and my first thought was that I was quite worried because he has some injury. The on the big screen I saw Marc [Marquez] crash at turn one and they were the two places where I'd had a moment as well, so I thought if I had to push again it would be quite dangerous,” he added.
“Then I saw a few other guys crash and I made sure I just cruised around and if I needed to push again I would have. I took the risk at probably the right time.”
Crutchlow has underlined his competitiveness in the wet but has also been strong in the dry at Silverstone on the RCV, leaving the 30-year-old feeling confident a top five finish is well within his reach tomorrow.
“I think over one or two laps we're probably a little bit stronger than our actual position [in the dry] but I believe also with the hard race tyre, we're in a good shape at the moment to be in the top five. Our problem is always the Ducatis here because they're so fast in a straight line and have no wheelie, whereas as you can see with the Honda we're fighting a lot – me, Dani [Pedrosa], Marc, Tito [Rabat] and Jack.
“Our issues this weekend are a little bit better because there's not so much hard acceleration. I think tomorrow in a dry race we can be competitive and I'll do what I can to be battling at the front. I'll give 100 per-cent no matter what the weather; obviously it's pleasing for us to be competitive in the dry this weekend and we'll see what the weather brings tomorrow and hopefully we can put on a good show.”
With the inclement weather at the Northamptonshire circuit effectively wiping out crucial assessment time in FP4, Crutchlow was disappointed to miss the chance to evaluate all of Michelin's front tyre options.
“For us, we wanted to try the other option front tyre and it's been difficult with the conditions in the morning to use the harder front tyre – we wanted to try the middle one but they're very close the two that we have, the medium and the hard,” he said.
“But the soft is going to be too soft for us in the dry, so we wanted to try that. It's frustrating but I really hope we don't have a race tomorrow that's half wet, half dry, like the last few. Hopefully it's dry for everyone.”
The Isle of Man resident, meanwhile, confirmed that he used a new chassis during qualifying and added that he may stick with it for Sunday's race.
“Yes it's true that I'm using a new chassis; HRC and Honda wanted me to evaluate this chassis, so I did and we had it in the qualifying and I don't know what he final decision is for the race, it's not completely clear, but the feeling is good, it's a little different – it's better in one way and worse in another,” said Crutchlow.
“It's the same as everything, there's a little bit of give and take but I'm just evaluating it for them and maybe we will race it tomorrow.”