Cal Crutchlow finished 3.845s away from a repeat of last year's Phillip Island MotoGP victory.

Unfortunately for the LCR Honda rider, the ultra-close nature of the 2017 Australian round meant that wasn't even enough for a podium, crossing the line in fifth place.

But the Englishman was happy to have been able to start the race after a nasty highside in morning warm-up put his attendance in jeopardy. Fifth is also Crutchlow's best finish since Silverstone and followed DNFs in Aragon and Motegi.

"A big crash. Probably one of the worst that I've had in a long, long time," Crutchlow said of his warm-up accident. "Not the fastest, but I just went so high.

"I lost the rear on the exit of turn 6. I think I touched the white line and honestly the bike went so far over on the left that I thought I was going to fall off the inside of it. I was basically on the floor, and then the thing gripped and threw me so hard.

"I landed on the incline on the exit of Turn 6, hitting my head, back and ribs. I came back with the bike simply through sheer adrenaline. And I went back out and went faster. But I shouldn't have gone back out, because I felt so bad.

"An hour before the race, I didn't know whether I was going to race, honestly. I didn't feel well. I still don't feel well."

Crutchlow had qualified in tenth place after a minor fall in qualifying, then worked his way progressively up the order to form part of a raucous eight-rider lead group in the race.

"I had my electronics quite close to save the tyre because I thought it was going to be important at the end of the race, and at the end of the race we were not as good as the others," he explained.

"The Yamahas were way better than the Hondas. Marc just had those two laps where he was able to get away. But at the start of the race, I had like a one-and-a-half second gap where I was in sixth, and I had to make it up, and I pushed quite hard then.

"I think I used a little bit too much of the rear tyre. Because that was two laps that I pushed, and two laps to the end is where the thing fell to pieces."

Crutchlow, who beat Andrea Iannone by just 0.026s at the flag, added:

"I'm disappointed not to repeat last year, but we have to be happy, going from tenth to fifth is not too bad. And it was a great battle, a great show. We enjoyed the race, a lot of us. There were some hard moves in it, but it was good fun. I think everybody gave as good as they got.

"There should be nobody complaining, because we all tried our best, and we all enjoyed it. Nobody knocked anybody off. And that's racing.

"Now I just have to rest and recover for a few days, then see what we can do in Malaysia."

Crutchlow heads to Sepang holding ninth in the world championship, but just eight points behind Pramac's Danilo Petrucci and 14 from factory Ducati's Jorge Lorenzo.


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