Cal Crutchlow felt he had the pace to finish on the MotoGP podium at Montmel? but was denied the chance to get his championship back on track by a first lap 'racing incident' with Aleix Espargaro.

Entering the tight turn four on lap one in seventh, Crutchlow was taken out by an overly enthusiastic Espargaro, attempting to make up time after a disastrous first corner.

"At the end of the day it's a racing incident," said Crutchlow. "First lap. He didn't mean to knock me off for sure, but he got a bad start and needed to make up time and positions to be the hero of his home grand prix and he never finished the race anyway.

"I got a good start and I had the pace for the podium today. No doubt about that. The lap times that some of the guys were doing in the middle and end of the race were poor. I think the two Yamahas, Marc and me had the strongest pace over the race. So I'm disappointed not to be able to take advantage of that.

"I'm obviously not too happy because it was a real missed opportunity today, but it wasn't my fault so we'll go to the next race and try again."
When questioned over the current superiority enjoyed by Yamaha, Crutchlow was confident their 20 second advantage over third placed Dani Pedrosa wouldn't have been as emphatic had he still been in the race.

"For sure Dani was probably taking it a bit easy because he had a five second gap behind him. So I don't think [20 seconds] is the true gap. I think he could have been 12-seconds behind, if he was racing with someone and needed to push.

"I believe we'd have been in that gap somewhere. For sure it would have been hard to be on the podium if Marc had finished the race, although I don't think he'd have battled for the win. Yamaha have an advantage at the moment but I'm sure it'll turn around. When I don't know. Hopefully soon."

Crutchlow could be seen punching the air in frustration in the gravel trap but soon remounted before retiring. He later revealed his reason for pulling in was the lack of rear brake.

"I had to retire because I had no rear brake. We have to use the rear brake to stop the Honda. I would have lost two seconds a lap without it. On the Yamaha I didn't even use it but it was impossible to continue. I was over a minute behind so to take a risk for no reason - I've done that before and I've ended up in hospital."

Crutchlow's third consecutive non-score sees him slip to 21 points behind Bradley Smith.



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