Crutchlow takes hard fought podium in eventful WSB Brno weekend
Race one at the Brno circuit saw Yamaha Sterilgarda rider Cal Crutchlow made a strong start, taking race favourite Max Biaggi on the second lap for second place. He then set about chasing down race leader Johnny Rea, and was gradually closing in on him when his grip started to drop after several laps. Despite the difficulty Crutchlow kept his focus and managed to hold off the advances of Biaggi until just four laps from the end, initially rebuffing the Italian’s attempts to pass before finally surrendering second. He crossed the line in third just four seconds from the lead, and took the fastest lap of the race award, scoring a 1’59.964 on his third lap. Team mate James Toseland fought hard from his tenth place grid start, working his way through to seventh to start chasing down Noriyuki Haga for sixth. Despite also suffering a lack of grip Toseland managed to bring the gap between him and Haga down to 0.1 seconds by the final lap but ran out of time for the pass.
Race two and disaster struck for Crutchlow. A defective rear tyre saw the British rider gradually drop back to seventh before pulling in to avoid a crash. The tyre was changed and Crutchlow rejoined, delivering yet again the fastest lap of the race with an incredible 1’59.291, making up a couple of places to finish in 14th. Team mate Toseland had an electronic issue on the start line, relegating him to last at the first corner, 22 places from the front. The British rider then put in an astounding performance, making up 12 places in the next lap and going on to fight his way right through to fourth at the line, taking an amazing 18 places in his fight to regain position.
Toseland leaves Brno after the mixed weekend having climbed up a place to sixth in the standings with 160 points. Team mate Crutchlow remains in tenth position on 138 points. The team now head to the riders home race at Silverstone in the UK at the beginning of August.
Cal Crutchlow, Yamaha Sterilgarda World Superbike Team (3rd, 14th)
“I’m disappointed to be honest, I knew we had the pace this weekend to win. The first race didn’t go too much to plan, we had a bit of a problem with rear grip so we made a change for the second race which I thought was going to be really good. I did 12 laps on the rear tyre and to be honest I was just about to crash so I had to pull into change it. The tyre looked brand new after 12 laps where it should have looked worn. We did the last eight laps on a brand new tyre, I did the fastest lap of the race and the tyre looked perfect. I’m disappointed I couldn’t take it to the front guys but that’s racing, we’ll go to Silverstone now and make up for it.”
James Toseland, Yamaha Sterilgarda World Superbike Team (7th, 4th)
“Race one I had a problem with the electronics which weren’t working as they should do so I couldn’t get the exit speed I needed. I was surprised to finish seventh. It was the same system we ran the day before so we couldn’t put our finger on why it changed so much. Race two my launch control didn’t engage, so I bogged on the line to start and I was last going into turn one. I thought I wasn’t prepared to have next week off feeling miserable so I rode hard and the bike worked really well. I dug deep and went for it and managed to get past 12 guys in the next lap and then keep on pushing towards the front.”
Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha Sterilgarda World Superbike Team Manager
“We had an up and down weekend, it’s been frustrating again that we’ve had the speed and pace to achieve great results but issues outside of our control have prevented us. Today during race one Cal didn’t have the confidence to find the same speed as yesterday but still a podium was still good. Race two was a very different situation where James after a really bad start did a really great job, going from last position to fourth at the end. Cal had a problem with a defective rear tyre and he had to stop to change the tyre. He then proved that he was probably the fastest man there.”