Cal Crutchlow’s Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team hailed his heroic British Grand Prix ride from the back of the grid to sixth as one of the best in its long history. But team boss Herve Poncharal admitted that while thrilled to see Crutchlow shrug off the intense pain of a broken left ankle to claim a top six, the French squad couldn’t help but contemplate what might have been.
Crutchlow broke his left ankle in a high speed crash in Saturday morning’s final practice session and having missed qualifying he was forced to start the 20-lap race from the back of the grid. He was only declared fit after passing stringent medical checks just moments before the start of yesterday morning’s 20-minute warm-up session.
Poncharal said: “We are more than happy because at one stage it really didn’t look like he was going to be able to ride. He was pushing a lot and when you see the performance he produced it would have been a big shame not to let him ride, not only for himself but also for all the British fans. I don’t want to say that we are also a little but unhappy but when you see how fast he was able to ride despite his physical condition, it is hard not to think that without the crash on Saturday he could have been on the podium.
“I am sure Cal feels the same way because there was a real possibility for him to get his first MotoGP podium in his home race and that would have been amazing. I am still really pleased for him and also the fans. Everybody was desperately disappointed when Cal couldn’t race last season and we feared a repeat again. But the job he did was out of this world. He lost so much track time that basically he went out on a bike that his crew set-up for him and he just went out and did what he does best and that is push and push with a lot of aggression.
“We just wanted him to finish the race and get some confidence back, so to finish in sixth place considering where he started and how much pain he was in, it is hard to find words to describe the job he did. We thought he might be able to get close to the top 10 but obviously once the adrenaline kicked in and he felt his confidence coming back, he got his head down and we were happy when he got seventh. He was a long way behind Nicky but to pass him on the last lap sums Cal up perfectly. He never gives up, he’s got amazing self-belief and he has got a lot of guts to match his talent. I am proud of him and I’m sure all of the British fans are too.”