A last corner fall on lap 8 of Sunday's Austin MotoGP saw Cal Crutchlow drop to the back of the field and, ultimately, lose the world championship lead.

The Englishman, certain he had the pace for the podium, had been eager to break free from the fight for fifth with Andrea Dovizioso and Johann Zarco.

But the LCR Honda rider was struggling in the braking zones, at a time in the race when the hard-rear tyre was also at a disadvantage compared to the medium.

"I needed to pass. Because I was faster than them, I am not going to ride around behind them," Crutchlow said.

"I needed to clear Zarco and go because [the top four] were not really extending their gap ahead of me, so I knew I could go across quite easily.

"[The problem was] I had not enough front grip. I was braking deep and not stopping the bike, overheating the rubber on the front tyre.

"Honestly, I don’t think we set the bike up well enough for the braking zones. But it's a compromise because if I was riding alone, like after I crashed, I had no problem in the braking zones. I didn’t miss one apex.

"It's when you get sucked along in the slipstream and in the braking zone you're behind people that you don’t decelerate well.

"The mistake in the last corner, I was actually trying to square the bike up so I could have a run at Johann into turn one and as I leant at the last moment I opened the throttle and closed the front.

"Normally when you crash, you brake deep and think, 'I'm not going to stop'. Or you go in too fast or something. My crash was something that if I'd have done it four laps later I probably would have got away with it. It's the way it is.

"I made the mistake of not having the best set-up, I felt, with the rear tyre at that moment in time and not having the best set-up for the braking zone.

"I was strong after ten laps, but I'd crashed already.

"When you ride around at 80% after you crash and you're still doing the pace of the second-place guy, it showed we had the pace. No slipstream, just riding around alone, but it was too late."

Having scored 38 points in the previous races, 22 points more than last year, the non-score was a bitter blow.

"I'm more upset about the result because this was not what we wanted to happen. We said at the start of the year, a bad day should be sixth place and a bad day today was a crash.

"My team would rather I finished sixth for sure, but at the time [of the fall] I was not hot-headed, I was actually pretty calm for the situation. It was not that I made a mistake because I was out of control. I just made a stupid mistake at the last corner."

But Crutchlow made no apologies for going on the attack.

"I'm not a sixth-place rider this year. It's as simple as that. So I'm not going to settle for sixth. I was nowhere near a sixth-place rider today. I was fast enough to be second.

"I suppose it's great for the team to be leading the world title and finishing races, but I'm a racer and you need to understand when someone is in front of you and they are going slower than you can go, I'm not going to ride around behind them."

Crutchlow has dropped to fourth in the world championship, but still only eight points from leader Andrea Dovizioso and is tied with Zarco for top non-factory rider.

"I was not stressed about being championship leader. I'm not saying that I didn't want to be championship leader but in a way, maybe it's better not to be championship leader, because then you can focus on being on the podium week in, week out - which I think we can be - instead of focusing on what the team want, which is fifth or sixth and rack up points.

"If you chase podiums then the championship will come.

"In Qatar I finished fourth but I was chasing a podium. In Argentina I won, but I knew I could win. Here I thought it would be difficult to win, but I thought it would be quite easy to be on the podium.

"So I think we can go to Jerez very positive. We know the factory boys have tested there which is going to make that quite difficult to be as competitive, they’ve tested there on this year's bike with the parts that they’ve got.

"I tested there at the end of last year, but it's a completely different bike now.

"But I feel good around a place like around Jerez, I think it suits my style quite well. We'll have to see what the weather brings and try and have a positive result."

 

 

 

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