Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Cal Crutchlow rode to a fantastic fourth place finish in today’s inaugural Grand Prix of the Americas in Texas to consolidate his place in the top five in the World Championship standings after two races. For the second race in succession, the British rider comfortably finished as leading non-factory rider after he superbly recovered from an early off-track excursion to claim his best finish of the 2013 campaign. Crutchlow was locked in an early fight with Stefan Bradl when he ran off track on lap four, which dropped him back to sixth as Alvaro Bautista swept through. The 27-year-old wasted no time in getting back up to his fast pace and he brilliantly recovered the lost places with two expertly executed overtaking moves on Bautista on lap five and then on Bradl on lap nine. Crutchlow maintained his fast pace and was easily able to streak away from Bradl and Bautista to finish behind factory trio Marc Marquez, Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo, which was a fantastic achievement considering they had all tested at COTA last month.
It was mission accomplished for Bradley Smith in the 21-lap race as he gained priceless experience by guiding his YZR-M1 machine home to his first point scoring finish in his rookie campaign. Opting to run Bridgestone’s hard compound front tyre for the first time all weekend, Smith gradually built up his confidence and an impressive charge in the second half of the race saw him set a personal best lap of 2.06.415 on the penultimate lap to finish in 12th position. That was 0.3s faster than his best qualifying lap and the confidence and experience gained this weekend means Smith heads to Jerez next month optimistic that he can battle for a maiden top 10 finish.
Cal Crutchlow, 4th
“I’m very pleased and we did a better job than any of us expected before we arrived in Texas. With no testing here I was worried that it would be more of a struggle and the fire in the garage on Wednesday meant we couldn’t do any of our normal preparation work. So to finish fourth and be behind Marquez, Pedrosa and Lorenzo is a great achievement for all of us and I want to say a massive thanks to my crew. We qualified well and I rode very well in the race and the most pleasing aspect was my consistency. Unfortunately I ran wide while trying to pass Bradl but I managed to fight my way back through and I was running the same speed as Lorenzo for a long time and that gives me a lot of confidence to take into the next few races. I’m giving it my all and I’ll never give up and I think this weekend again we showed how competitive the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 package is. Now we go to Jerez and I was quickest at the winter test a few weeks ago, so it is going to be another big battle that I’m excited about.”
Bradley Smith, 12th
“I am really happy to finish the race because what I learned over a full race distance was priceless. I ran the hard front tyre on the advice of Bridgestone and while it was definitely the right choice, it took me a few laps to understand how it was working. The last thing I needed was to push too hard and make another mistake like in Qatar but the best thing about the race is I got faster and faster. I was quicker as in qualifying on the penultimate lap of the race, and that’s a sign of how much better I was riding the bike. I am learning more and more about the bike on each lap and I can go to Jerez now confident that I can be even more competitive and the goal will be to get closer to the top 10. Finally I can’t praise my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team enough. After the garage fire on Wednesday night it really put everybody on the back foot, but we all rallied round and it is nice to see both Cal and I finish in the points to reward their hard work.”
Herve Poncharal – Team Manager
“That was a very good first race here in Texas and Cal did an amazing job. He was in a very hard battle in the early laps and after he ran off the track his recovery was fantastic. He was back on his pace immediately and he brilliantly passed both Bradl and Bautista, even though it was clear that they had a very competitive package at this track. What was very impressive was the way Cal pulled away and he was able to run the same pace as Lorenzo in front of him, which is not an easy task and something he should be really proud of. Bradley also had a good race and he did exactly what he had to do after the crash in Qatar. He was calm at the beginning but once his confidence grew he got faster and faster and at the end he was as quick as a lot of those inside the top 10. This will give him a big boost and also the experience he is lacking, so we can look forward to an even stronger challenge from him in the next few races. Cal and Bradley did an awesome job but so did the whole Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team. We didn’t test here and that put us at a disadvantage and after the fire on Wednesday night our preparations were far from ideal. So to get this result in a crucial race for Yamaha and Monster Energy is extremely satisfying.”