Cal Crutchlow concluded his first ever MotoGP race positively by making a last-lap pass on Hector Barbera for eleventh at Qatar on Sunday night.

It wasn't quite the top ten finish that the Englishman had been hoping for, especially after turning heads with eighth place - in front of MotoGP megastar Valentino Rossi and his own Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team-mate Colin Edwards - during qualifying.

But with the seven factory riders that started the race (eight if you count Gresini's Marco Simoncelli) all finishing, and given his nasty finger injury from last Monday's test, Crutchlow couldn't be too hard on himself.

"I'm pretty happy with that [although] honestly I'd have liked to have got a top ten after how well qualifying went," said Cal. "I couldn't keep up with the group that included Nicky [Hayden] and Aoyama because it was tough to pass Barbera.

"They passed Barbera and I then overtook him to chase them, but he got me back immediately and let them get away because his pace dropped off quite a bit. But he's got a fast bike and that makes it hard to make a pass and stay in front of him.

"I was happy to be in the fight for the top ten for as long as I was and the experience gained is invaluable to help me progress in MotoGP. I wanted to finish and get a race under my belt, so it was mission accomplished.

"The next couple of races will be tough because I don't know the circuits but I'll be doing my best for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 squad."

Team manager Herve Poncharal praised Crutchlow's performance.

"I am very pleased with Cal. We didn't know what to expect because of his inexperience and the finger he damaged in the test was a bad injury. But he was able to battle with Aoyama and Hayden, who are world champions," said the Frenchman.

"It was a good pass on Barbera too, who has a lot more experience than him and that result that will give him more confidence for the next race. In Jerez his finger will be a lot better and I'm sure he can learn the track quickly, so we are looking for another positive result."

With Simoncelli riding an official full factory Honda for the Gresini team this year, Edwards could claim to be the top 'non-factory' rider in eighth place.

"That was the best I could do and I'm happy with the way I rode and my guys at Monster Yamaha Tech 3 gave me a good bike as always," said Edwards. "A top eight is pretty good considering the speed of the guys in front of me and I was pretty much where I thought I'd end up based on practice.

"I got a good start and thought the only way I've got any chance of getting a top six is to take a few early risks. I went round the outside at the first corner and made up a couple of places. But I had a couple of moments, one when I nearly ran into Ben, which wouldn't have been a good move.

"I thought I might have had something for Valentino early on but even when he's not 100 per cent he can still ride pretty good. I'm never happy with eighth but we got some decent points and we can move on to Jerez with confidence."

"Colin had a really good start and it was really interesting for the first few laps as he tried to battle with Ben and Valentino," added Poncharal.

"When you look at the final position he was the best non-factory rider and in this field that is a big achievement. It is clear the top seven are really fast but Colin did his maximum with the package we've got."



Loading Comments...