Crutchlow in podium hunt after “strange” qualifying

The Brit lines up second for Sunday's Dutch GP and is confident he can fight for a top three finish

Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) qualified in second place for Sunday’s Motul TT Assen race to earn his first front row start since taking pole at the Spanish GP.

The Brit lost out to fellow Honda rider Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) by just 0.041 seconds at the checkered flag, with Crutchlow adopting a different strategy in qualifying to fend off riders who tried to follow him.

“I didn’t want to lead this bunch of animals around,” explained the number 35. “I looked back and there were seven guys behind me, so I decided to shut the throttle. I like to do my laps alone but when I left the pits everyone slowed down and I didn’t want them to follow me. Generally, I normally lap alone, but I ended up at the back of the group because I slowed down in the fast corner and they’d already committed, but I think the strategy paid off. I wasn’t taking a big advantage because when you follow another bike you try and be fast where they are, so I was actually making more mistakes!”

Nonetheless, Crutchlow secured his best qualifying result in the Netherlands since his first MotoGP™ pole in 2013 and expects to have the same issues in Sunday’s race as he did in qualifying – a huge battle.

“I felt good. It was a strange qualifying session in that sense, in that the riders were following each other, but I think everyone knows how important it is and how close it is. The race will probably be the same – we like a battle but maybe not with ten or 12 guys.”

Can Crutchlow step on the rostrum for the first time since Argentina? That’s certainly his aim, but he’s also wary about how many riders also have the possibility of a podium finish. “I think it’s possible to be on the podium but you could also find yourself seventh or eighth.”