Petrucci, Zarco, Crutchlow: 2 points in it

After the Austrian GP, the Independent Team Championship battle is as tight as ever

The Independent Team Championship is hotting up and after Sunday’s eyetime Motorrad Grand Prix von Österriech, just three points separate Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing), Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Johann Zarco and Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol).

All three finished in the top ten at the Austrian GP, with Crutchlow finishing best of the rest in fourth, Petrucci was one place behind in fifth and Zarco managed to earn a P9 after a last lap tussle with Alvaro Bautista (Angel Nieto Team) and Tito Rabat (Reale Avintia Racing) – but what did each rider have to say after the race at the Red Bull Ring?

Danilo Petrucci (105 points): “Yeah, I’m happy, as you say top five was my target. We reached that and were happy. But for sure the gap has been quite high, in Brno we finished three seconds from the winner in sixth position, today we finish fifth and 13 seconds from the lead. So, it’s a little bit too much. The first three riders I knew were faster than me, but I think the maximum we can reach today is the fourth position, I tried my best, in the last ten laps I had to quit my race with Cal because he was a little bit faster than me. Anyway, this is my least favourite track for my weight, we struggle a lot with 10/12 kilos more compared to the others. But anyway, we managed to reach the top five, this was the target. We look to Silverstone now, we’re the top Independent rider in the classification, yes for sure Cal is gaining the advantage but at the moment we are first so mission accomplished.”

Alex Rins, Danilo Petrucci, eyetime Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich

Johann Zarco (104 points): “It has been a difficult race today, I expect to have better pace. I chose the soft tyre because it was the one I had the best feeling with, but I’ve never been slow like that with the soft tyre. I lost too many positions in the first corner and I was unable to make the time back up, so I was struggling. I tried to do my best, but I was too slow, even when Valentino overtook me I thought maybe I can have a better pace but no, it was not possible, and I had to finish the race. At the end it was kind of funny, it was maybe my best moment that Bautista overtook me, and we caught up with Tito, we had a great fight. It was for ninth but at least it was a fight. We overtook each other a few times and in the last corner I was able to take the advantage on the exit so I’m happy for that, we could have finished 11th but finally its ninth. We look forward to Silverstone, it’s a nice track and I hope to not have any weak points on my bike so that I can see the top five.”

Johann Zarco, Monster Yamaha Tech 3, eyetime Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich

Cal Crutchlow (103 points): “Yeah it’s a good job I’m married really because I get to go see Lucy and Willow after the race. It was a lonely race, at the start for probably 10 laps I had plus two, plus two of a second on my board and I thought just go away, I’m happy alone. The team did a fantastic job today, we’re pleased with how they’ve worked and how Honda have worked over the past year. Last year I finished 15th here in a disgraceful effort, so I’m glad to be fourth, I did a good job and I look forward to going… I don’t actually look forward to going to test in Misano next week but I’m definitely looking forward to going in front of my home fans in two week’s time in Silverstone. I actually thought I could finish on the podium today because I thought there would be a mess up front but no, the team and the bike are working well.”

Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda Castrol, eyetime Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich

Silverstone is next up on the calendar, with Crutchlow aiming for home glory on a track he took pole and a P2 finish at in 2016. Who will take the reins in the Independent Team Championship after Round 12?

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