Phillip Island winner Cal Crutchlow says his stunning victory in Australia proves that he is capable of winning MotoGP races in the dry as well as in the wet.
Crutchlow clinched his maiden premier class success earlier this season in tricky conditions at Brno in the Czech Republic and the LCR Honda rider added a second career victory as he became the first Briton ever to win the Australian Grand Prix, heading home Valentino Rossi by more than four seconds.
“It's a good moment in my career and I said that three or four races ago and it seems to be getting better, which is good. I targeted a few races this year and I said I wanted to do a good job and be on the podium at Brno and Silverstone and I did, and I targeted a win here, so it's been a really good year,” Crutchlow said.
“Somebody asked me last week what I thought about going to Phillip Island and I said I planned to come and win and I don't think that they believed me, but I honestly planned to come here and do a good job.
“It's nice to win one in the wet and dry because people think you can only win in the rain when you win a wet race. We did a good job, there's no doubt about that and I have to thank my team and the small group of people I have around me.”
Crutchlow said keeping a cool head was crucial throughout the race and admitted his last lap slip off at Honda corner a few years ago played on his mind, particularly following early leader Marc Marquez's crash at the same corner on lap nine.
“Obviously I'm really, really pleased. To come here and race in the conditions we raced in over the weekend… it was about keeping your head and doing the best job with the situation because sometimes over the weekend the situation was dangerous,” Crutchlow said.
“I had to stay strong and I felt that my pace in the race was good – better than in other years – for 20-odd laps, which is strange considering we didn't ride much of the weekend in the dry; only this morning was a real dry session. I was pleased to be able to take advantage when I needed to and first of all I have to say thank you to my team, they did a really good job this weekend.
“If Marc would have crashed in Turn 6 I would have thought nothing of it but I crashed there two years ago [at Turn 4] with four seconds to Vale and ten seconds behind me on the last lap. He crashed on lap nine or something so I spent the rest of the race thinking, 'this is a disaster'. I honestly didn't brake too much into there and took it quite easy but I had some flashbacks from a couple of years ago,” he added.
“I know it sounds really strange I pushed on the laps when the sun wasn't out because I knew I had to keep the heat in the front tyre and when the sun was out I took it a little bit easier as such. Thanks to Honda because we have good support from them and internally we have good support from Honda. I'm disappointed my two girls weren't here today but luckily they are on the flight to Malaysia so once they come off the flight in a couple of hours, they will know that I've won and I'll get to see them tomorrow morning.”
Looking ahead to the next race at Malaysia, Crutchlow said he would make the trip to Sepang in high spirits after his latest confidence-boosting victory.
“I am going to believe in my head that I have this psychological advantage, until probably FP1! We go there in positive spirits and whatever happens it's been a couple of good races,” he said.
“We were riding four seconds slower than the normal pace [during a test at Sepang] and there was nothing to say from the track, although it is a little different with the changes of the camber but essentially the corners go the same way. The track was really dirty and I don't know if they are bringing the same tyres to the race as they brought to the test. Now, we have all the tyres from the test and we have been using them, so they are nothing new to everybody else.”
Crutchlow is up to sixth in the championship standings, 14 points behind Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa with two races remaining.