Britain’s Cal Crutchlow says his strategy worked perfectly in final qualifying for the Dutch MotoGP as the LCR Honda rider finished second fastest behind Marc Marquez at Assen.

Crutchlow secured his first front row start since taking pole at Jerez to complete a one-two for Honda at a circuit normally regarded as a Yamaha track.

Valentino Rossi was third quickest as only 0.059s covered the top three and Crutchlow said his decision to take up a position at the rear of the top group in Q2 paid off.

“I’m a clever guy! I didn’t want to lead this bunch of animals around and I looked back and there were seven guys behind me, so I decided to shut the throttle,” he said.

“I like to do my laps alone but when I left the pit, everyone slowed down and I didn’t want them to follow me then, but I ended up at the back of the group because I slowed down in the fast corner and they had already committed.

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“I think my strategy paid off, that I was last in the group, even though I was not taking a big advantage; it’s strange when you follow another bike because you try to go fast where their bike is actually fast, so I was actually making more mistakes,” Crutchlow added.

“I felt good, it was a strange qualifying session in that sense that the riders were following each other, but they obviously also know the importance of this race, of how close it is because the top three are covered by less than a tenth.

“It was strange for that reason but entertaining I’m sure for the crowd and the journalists, but no so entertaining for the riders and also the race will probably also be the same: we like a battle, but not with 10 or 12 guys because then it’s too close.”

In the post-qualifying press conference, pole man Marquez’s hot race pace was highlighted and Crutchlow was asked if he felt he would be able to catch the reigning champion, prompting a quick-fire response from the Brit.

“Or he has to catch me! It depends what start he gets… or we both have to catch Valentino, we don’t know how the race is going to be. In MotoGP the start is so important to try and get away and be in that lead group,” he said.

“You can see some guys from the third row being capable of getting onto the podium also and I do believe it’s possible to be on the podium tomorrow, but you could also find yourself seventh or eighth I think.

“I’m looking forward to a battle and doing a good job for my team and for Honda, so let’s see how it goes.”

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