Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) made it six consecutive second row starts in 2018 after qualifying for the PTT Thailand Grand Prix in P5 as the leading Independent Team rider, which the British rider confirms is a satisfying Saturday afternoon result.
“I feel satisfied. I wanted the front 2 rows. My pace is good, not exceptional, but good enough to be able to fight a little,” began the Honda rider. “I think it will be difficult to win the race tomorrow but I think we can be there or thereabouts. I think we’re all looking forward to a long hot race. It’s quite difficult here with the tyres because they start to spin after three laps and you have to manage the bike a lot, so the physicality is even worse. I think the team did a fantastic job again to be able to put me in a position with a good competitive bike and to be able to fight. We’ll see how tomorrow goes.”
Crutchlow was only 0.268 off Marc Marquez’ (Repsol Honda Team) pole position time, with the top 12 in Q2 covered by just 0.888 seconds. With that in mind, the number 35 is expecting there to be a big battle for the race win and podium positions: “It seems that everybody has some pace. If you look at the guy in 12th position in the practice, he has the pace to be third or fourth, he has the same pace as the guy in third or fourth, so it’s difficult to work out at the moment. But I’ll aim for a top five or top six and I’ll be happy, but why not try to push for the podium… I think it will be a big battle.”
The Honda rider was able to stand on the rostrum in Misano after starting from P6 on the grid. He’s one place higher in Thailand, so can he take a third podium of the year on Sunday?