Cal Crutchlow has revealed his strategy of rear tyre conservation ultimately backfired in Sunday's searing heat, as the Englishman dropped away from the victory fight before finishing a solid seventh in the inaugural MotoGP race in Thailand.

For much of the absorbing contest Crutchlow was among the victory contenders, his LCR Honda sat in the slipstream of Andrea Dovizioso, Marc Marquez and Valentino Rossi during the first 17 laps.

At the time, the 32-year old felt he was doing the right thing: picking his Honda up on corner exit and onto the centre of his rear tyre in a bid to nurse his rear tyre the full distance.

But as the centre of Michelin’s rear tyres were suffering excessive wear through the weekend in unexpectedly high temperatures, Crutchlow soon found his traction compromised. “I wrecked the centre of the tyre,” he conceded.

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On lap 18 he was powerless to prevent Maverick Viñales, Dani Pedrosa and Alex Rins getting by. A lap later and Johann Zarco was past. From there Crutchlow was overcompensating for the lack of drive by braking late.

A few scares warned him he was on the very edge. “I was nearly down a few times,” he said of those final laps. Collecting solid points then became the objective.

“[It was] Not too bad until the rear tyre just completely dropped at 15 laps, and I couldn't battle, I couldn't fight,” said Crutchlow, who maintains sixth place in the championship as a result of the nine points gained for seventh.

“The first fifteen laps I felt I was getting held up in that group. I was yo-yoing a little bit, but I was doing it on purpose, because I felt the front tyre pressure was high. So I sat behind Valentino, give them half a second at least, pull out of the slipstream, but pulling out of the slipstream, then you lose the lap time, you know?

“By me trying to save the rear tyre, I actually destroyed the rear tyre. Because what we know is, with the centre of the tyre being so hard, it's what rips, the centre of the tyre has been the problem all weekend, but me trying to save the tyre, if you see my riding style compared to everyone else, I was picking the bike up like really fast, and trying to get the drive.

“But I wrecked the centre of the tyre. So I should have kept more lean angle and opened the throttle more on the side. Which is the complete opposite way to ride a 300 horsepower bike, or whatever they are. So I destroyed the rear tyre for that reason.

“Then, the problem that was coming then was, I was pushing the front tyre because I had no rear grip, and I was nearly down a few times, so I said, OK, just finish the race.

“To finish six seconds off the winner and finish seventh is disappointing, because if you said to me, where would six seconds off the winner finish you, I would have said fourth. I thought there would be a podium of Dovi, Marc, and maybe me, maybe someone else.

“But I'm disappointed. I'm pleased to finish the race, first and foremost, pleased to have a weekend with no dramas. The team did a good job. I think Honda were obviously competitive this weekend, you saw Marc win the race. Dani was competitive because of Dani's style with the tyres here.

“And to be there battling again is important. It's not often that I'm not in the battle at the end of a race, it's more that I'm not in the battle at the start of the race. But yeah, I rode the bike a little bit wrong, trying to pick it up and get it out of the corner.

“I had good corner speed and good lean angle, but I was really picking the bike up, and that destroyed the center of the tire, and that was it.

“[That’s] My own riding style, really, but with these construction tyres, we should have kept the lean angle more. Maybe that's why we've been seeing Yamaha doing better this weekend, they've been using the side of the tyre more.”

A rider who takes physical preparation away from the track as seriously as anyone, Crutchlow then spoke of the difficulties riding in the Thai heat. Sunday’s race, he said, was more exhausting than outings in Malaysia.

The humidity is less, yes. But the layout of the 2.8-mile Chang International Circuit is more demanding, and requires a greater amount of “fighting” with his Honda RC213V.

“I think this was a lot harder than the Malaysia race,” said Crutchlow. “I don't know why, but I think it's the circuit. The circuit must be a lot harder than Malaysia, because I think the humidity in Malaysia is more, but here feels a lot hotter.

“But also, the heat from the bikes was unbelievable today. My foot was hot! But the heat, we all don't particularly like it, because it's so hot when you are on the bike, but that's why it's better to be in the front, because then you have some fresh air.

“But I think Malaysia is a lot easier to race than here, because this track, even though you have the two straights, it's so physical, because we're fighting the bike a lot. Even with the straights, we're completely fighting the bike.”

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