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Crutchlow cruises to Magny-Cours victory

3 October 2010

Cal Crutchlow will leave World Superbikes with at least one more win in his pocket as he claimed a dominant race win at Magny-Cours.

The Briton recovered from a clumsy first few laps to snatch the lead from Max Biaggi on lap eight before easing away from the chasing pack to win by almost four seconds.

Complementing his double victories at Silverstone, Crutchlow's success means he is all-but-certain to finish fifth in the final standings.

Starting from his sixth pole position of the season, Crutchlow got away relatively well but was unable to prevent Max Biaggi from diving up the inside into turn one. Although Crutchlow nosed ahead again round the long Estoril right-hander, Biaggi simply used the speed advantage of his RSV-4 to get him back at the hairpin.

After a fraught first few corners that is often indicative of the series' close competition, Crutchlow would be demoted to fourth by the end of the opening lap as Sylvain Guintoli and Michel Fabrizio bullied their way through.

Fabrizio would also find his way up to second place behind Biaggi by lap two, but his victory challenge was blunted as Crutchlow tucked beneath both he and Guintoli on the run to the Adelaide hairpin to pass both under braking.

From here, Crutchlow quickly latched onto the back of Biaggi's Aprilia, overcoming a lack of straight line speed compared to the RSV-4 to make a move stick into the hairpin on lap eight, Crutchlow edging his rival out wide to prevent any kind of comeback.

It would prove the decisive move of the race as Crutchlow simply gapped those behind him, Biaggi slipping into the clutches of an entertaining scrap for second position with Fabrizio, Guintoli, Carlos Checa and Leon Haslam.

Willed on by the home crowd, a feisty looking Guintoli was the first rider to put pressure on Biaggi, but his efforts would instead result in him losing a spot to Fabrizio. However, Guintoli's race would effectively come to a controversial conclusion on lap 14 when his attempted pass for third forced him to run on at the Nurburgring chicane.

Although he slotted back into fourth place, Guintoli was handed a drive-through penalty by the officials for seemingly gaining an advantage.

Nonetheless, Guintoli remained defiant and after ignoring calls to serve his penalty, he was black flagged four laps from the end of the race. Worse could follow for the Frenchman, however, as he also didn't heed the black flag – which stipulates a rider must pit immediately when shown the warning.

Back to the race, Guintoli had dropped to fifth position anyway, behind Checa and Haslam, but ahead of Fabrizio who was fading as the race wore on. As such, the battle for second was down to a three-way tie.

While Checa – who was clearly disadvantaged down the long straight – made a move stick for second on lap 18, Biaggi soon found his way back through, while Haslam was also past on the penultimate revolution.

With Crutchlow cruising to victory, Haslam – who lost a certain podium last week at Imola with a failed last lap attempt – went for the pass up the inside of the tight final corner chicane. It proved a successful move, Haslam forcing Biaggi over the kerbs and down to fourth position behind Checa too.

A satisfying pass for Haslam in what is his final event for Suzuki, Biaggi's fourth was still enough for Aprilia to wrap up the 2010 manufacturers'.

Guintoli completed a fifth place finish but was swiftly removed from the results classification, thus promoting Jakub Smrz up to the position, the Czech rider unable to put his pace – which saw him set a series of fast laps during the latter laps – to good use after a poor start.

Fabrizio dropped to sixth position, ahead of Ducati Xerox team-mate Noriyuki Haga, while Tom Sykes posted another impressive top ten finish for Kawasaki – his fifth in succession – with an eighth place finish. Shane Byrne – who was 18th early on in the race – was ninth, while Luca Scassa completed the top ten.

Elsewhere, Jonathan Rea was feeling the effects of his injuries as he settled for a modest 12th place finish, the Northern Irishman now just two points ahead of Carlos Checa in the battle for third in the standings.

Meanwhile, James Toseland suffered a nasty crash on lap three of the race, the Yamaha rider able to walk away despite his R1 ending up over the barriers. BMW also suffered a torrid start to the day as Ruben Xaus fell and Troy Corser retired with mechanical problems.


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