Cal Crutchlow was “disappointed” to qualify in eighth position for Sunday’s Grand Prix of Argentina, but remains “optimistic” of his chances of pushing for a podium place.

The Englishman fought a lack of rear grip in Q2 after showing excellent speed throughout the weekend. Crutchlow was never outside the top four in each of the four free practice sessions, and enjoys an excellent record at the Termas de Rio Hondo Circuit.

“I’m disappointed with where I qualified today, but overall, happy with the pace,” he began. “The track condition came a little bit better today, but not fantastic, and not what we really expected. But we had some things to try on the bike, and I think we worked in the right direction.

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“In qualifying, I didn't feel great with the rear tyre, and I made two mistakes in the second run, and was not able to improve. So it's going to make for a difficult race tomorrow, but I'm optimistic. I'm looking forward to it.

“The first run [in qualifying] was not too bad. I put a banker in, and prepared myself for the second run, but in the second run I didn't have a really great feeling with the rear tyre of the bike.

“I could manage it on the throttle, but corner entry I struggled. I made two mistakes at Turn 9, and the lap was over. Whether it was my own fault or I never had a great feeling with the bike, it doesn't matter.

“We're a team, and I made the mistake and we have to look forward to tomorrow's race. But eighth place is not what I came here for, it's not what I expected.

“Obviously, FP 4 I had a good pace, FP3 I had good pace, but it seems that I'm better when I'm riding alone. It would have been nice to lead the race, and ride alone.

“Or if Marc went, he could split the group, and I might have been riding along in second, and see what we've got. It's going to be a bit more of a hectic race and a bit more of a difficult race from where I'm starting from.

“But I have some cannons in front of me, Jack, Morbidelli, Quartararo. I'm sure they will push in the first couple of corners, and hopefully make a little bit of room for me to come through. But I've no idea. I know that I have the pace, but I need to be able to pass here and get past people at the start. But passing people in MotoGP isn't easy, especially at this circuit.

“If you run off line, it's normally damp or wet. But I have to get a good start, the problem is that our starts have been terrible with the Honda this year. We're really struggling in that area.

“To start the bike, we're two or three tenths slower than we were up to 200 kph, all the riders. So I'll have to try to get a rocket tomorrow. It's only a short run to Turn one. I said the other day, I need to qualify better than tenth, and I did, but I qualified eighth and expected a front row.

“Conditions last year were not that bad. It was only at Turn 3 that we had some water. But it shows and it seems that if it rains, then three days later it's still wet here. So if it's going to rain tonight, it's going to be damp, or patches for the race.

“Race laps at the end of the race were 1m 40.3s, that's the same as what people are doing now, for the podium battle down to seventh, they are doing 1m 40.3s. And the track was in better condition this year. So it's going to be a massive risk tomorrow.

“It's going to be difficult from where I am to look at winning the race. I thought that maybe if I qualified on the front two rows it would have been easier to think about that. Marc's got superior pace. A little bit ahead of me. Not a massive amount.

“And you never know, when you put him under pressure, or if he's not leading, what he's going to do. So I think that starting from eighth is a disaster from that point of view, but I have the pace, I have a great pace to be on the podium, for sure, and I had the pace to be able to challenge right at the front of the race.

“But as you said, with how dirty the track is, being run off line, having to make passes, I just hope that the other guys in front of me don't make the first couple of corners very well, and they also maybe run out onto the dirt. But I need to make sure I stay on line, and stay in a good position.

“But I'll fight tomorrow. I have to, if I want a good result. The race is long, and I have a good pace over the distance, I have a very good pace over the distance, but I can't be hanging around with people whose pace isn't good enough for the top ten. Some of the guys ahead of me.”

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