The name Cal Crutchlow will go down in history now after he won at the Automotodrom Brno in the Czech Republic where the 11th round of the MotoGP class took place.
Crutchlow achieved so much with one win
He didn’t just take a win, he claimed his first ever MotoGP win, LCR Honda’s first win, the first win in the MotoGP for 35 years since Barry Sheene, he finished as the highest placed independent team rider, the highest placed Honda rider, he set the fastest lap, and did his bike win an Olympic gymnastics medal for its somersaults yesterday?
It didn’t compare to the birth of baby Willow
The new Dad achieved so much and said that none of this was as good as the birth of his new baby girl Willow… who can blame him though? Hopefully Crutchlow has silenced all of them critics and keyboard warriors in the process too (but enough about them for now)!
A summary of the meeting for Cal
Rewind to day one of the meeting at Brno, Crutchlow finished the first Free Practice session in 12th position over 1.4 seconds off the pace. He improved slightly during FP2 when he reduced the gap to just below a second from leader Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda).
Free Practice 3 he did what he needed to do finishing ninth so he automatically qualified through to Q2 (1.370 seconds off the pace). Then after he finished FP4 in 10th that is where he finished Qualifying; he would start the 11th round of the MotoGP from the front of the fourth row of the grid.
This was despite crashing at turn 11 and his bike somersaulted through the gravel and lifted up and went over the fence that had been put in place to catch it. The LCR Honda team had their work cut out to be ready for the race.
Brave tyre choice for the Brit
Race day came and the conditions changed dramatically. The weather at the start of the meeting was cool and temperatures gradually increased, but come race day it had been lashing it down. Crutchlow was ninth during the morning warm-up… what could he do for the race?
The rain had eased off during the Moto2 race and had stayed away. The track was still wet and not yet dry enough for intermediate tyres. As the riders lined up on the grid, Crutchlow made an extremely brave choice to run with the hard compound full wet tyres on the front and rear of his LCR Honda.
Poor start from the Honda rider due to the hard tyres
The lights went out and the race got underway, Crutchlow went backwards. He fell down to 13th after the first few laps as the majority of riders had chosen the soft wet front and rears and so made a much better start.
However, the rain stayed off and the track, although it was still wet, was not holding as much water. Crutchlow got his tyres up to temperature and that it is when it all began for the Brit.
Crutchlow’s pursuit began
First he overtook the factory Movistar Yamaha riders, Valentino Rossi first and then Jorge Lorenzo, he was in 11th. He continued to find his rhythm and pluck the riders in front of him off one by one. The Ducati’s may have been dominating so far during the race filling all the podium places, but this wasn’t going to last long.
First ever MotoGP win for the Brit
Crutchlow continued until he eventually found himself at the front and leading the race. He had glided past everyone and once he had past Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team) he began to pull away and won his first MotoGP race by over seven seconds over second place Rossi, and Marquez finished third.
As soon as he returned to parc ferme he spoke to his wife Lucy on the phone. Crutchlow is in such a happy place right now after she gave to their new daughter Willow. He said that he “expected probably a different feeling” but said that “Lucy giving birth the other week was the best feeling in the world”.
Of course he admitted, “winning is fantastic” but he stated that he “had the best present a couple of weeks ago” when Willow arrived.
Crutchlow the first British rider to win the MotoGP since Sheene 35 years ago
Having not won a race for “many, many years” as he tried to remember whether it was six or 7 years ago, he admitted “it’s been a long time” and that he was “pleased to be the British rider that’s done it”.
He admits his tyre choice was a gamble
Referring to his tyre choices at the start of the race Crutchlow admitted he “took a gamble”. He identified that “nobody else did” as far as he was aware, and said, “As far I am concerned they are all wimps!” The gamble came at the start of the race when he “struggled” as he “couldn’t get the heat into the tyre”.
He said as him and Rossi were riding round together, (Rossi had a soft front and hard rear), that it was “a little bit more dangerous” for him as he had the hard front and “you need the front round here”. However he felt that once he “got the heat into the front” that he was “able to push” and admitted that he felt like he was “playing with them” as he passed the other riders on track.
He noticed that he had “so much grip” and found that he was able to “ride across gaps whenever I needed to”. He thought he was going to have a “fun” moment with Avintia Ducati rider Hector Barbera when he went to take fourth from him, but instead he “just went passed him” and “continued to ride at my own pace”.
Crutchlow silences his critics
Always one to highlight that he is aware of what goes in the media the race winner said that “after all of the stick” that he has had along the lines off “everyone’s better” than the Brit, he has hopefully silenced his critics saying, “We did it, they didn’t! It’s as simple as that!” He did not want to sound “cocky or arrogant” but said, ”That’s just the way it is!”
Luccio pleaded with him to slow down
Anyway, at the end of the race he said the “worst thing” was that team boss “Luccio was hanging on the pit wall” begging Crutchlow to “slow down”. However Crutchlow said, “When you are in the rhythm you are just riding around and you don’t need to be told.”
Olympic medal for the LCR Honda
Crutchlow was extremely thankful to his team who he said “worked hard for this”. Speaking about how he “smashed a bike yesterday” when it somersaulted over the fence, he said they “didn’t leave the circuit until midnight last night” and he felt winning the race was a “good way to repay them”.
Discussing the incident he said how he “wrecked a bike” as it “went 6.5 metres in the air” and that there was “not one conceivable part left”. He thinks the engine may be salvageable but was unsure.
Crutchlow very thankful for the support that led him there
The British rider said he had “a lot of people to thank for this”. From those who “backed” him when he “first started” his career, and “continued to back” him even though he “had bad results”. He said, “Sure I have had some crashes this year but I didn’t crash today and I won the race.”
Congratulations Crutchlow! The win is very much deserved. Crutchlow’s win comes after his first podium in Germany where he finished second, the birth of his daughter Willow over the summer break, and qualifying as the fastest independent rider for the Austrian GP. We hope his success comes home to England with him as the next round of the MotoGP is set to take place in Silverstone in two weeks’ time.