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True grit: Crutchlow claims first podium since Qatar

Despite a torn ACL and fractured tibia, the British rider ran Viñales all the way to finish third at the Sachsenring

Ahead of the weekend’s action, Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) wasn’t sure if he’d even be able to take part after a cycling mishap led to the British rider injuring his right anterior cruciate ligament and fracturing the top of his tibia.

But the HJC Helmets Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland would end pain-free for Crutchlow, a sterling effort from the Brit saw him claim podium number two of the season, his first since a gritty display on his comeback ride in Qatar. It’s a welcome boost for Crutchlow who hasn’t been able to find the same feeling on the 2019 RC213V as he did on last year’s model, but it was a successful weekend at the Sachsenring as a three-week summer break now beckons.

Crutchlow "refused to use the injury as an excuse"

“As I said on Thursday, I wouldn’t use it as an excuse to go faster or slower this weekend,” began Crutchlow, discussing his injury. “I’ve always done that (gone quick while riding injured), I don’t plan to get injured before every Grand Prix… obviously we’re very happy, the team have done a great job this weekend, we thoroughly deserved that, we’ve been battling the last couple of races to get some good results.

“I was really disappointed in Barcelona because I thought there was a podium there. Last week I was strong in the middle of the race, at the start and the end I made mistakes so. Hey, this is racing and I’m pleased to go into the summer break with a podium for the team and we worked hard all weekend as I said.”

Crutchlow was then asked how he felt after completing 30 laps of the tight and twisty German layout, was he feeling the effects of his injuries? “I just feel old. What am I, seven years oldest on the podium or something? No, physically I felt absolutely fine. The fact that the conditions out there today were really difficult to manage, the track was slippy and maybe this helps us in regards to turning our bike because when there is high grip, we struggle to turn the bike, and when we can slide the rear of the bike this helps so we went into it optimistic. I worked on the race pace in FP4 and the other practices and this is where we finished today.”

In 15 mins: German Grand Prix MotoGP™ highlights

The 33-year-old went on to explain the race. The number 35 was locked onto the back of Maverick Viñales’ Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP machine for the entirety, only for a mistake with two laps remaining put an end to his chances of making it a Honda 1-2 at the Ring.

“Honestly speaking, taking nothing away from Maverick, I felt like I had a better pace,” admitted Crutchlow. “But I didn’t need to pass, I was already in third, a podium position, I wasn’t going to catch Marc and I thought ok let’s wait until the end of the race and I’ll attack him. With five laps to go, it was quite windy and I had all the vents open in my helmet and there was water coming out my eyes so I had to really blink. So I let him go for a second and then I came back again once my eyes had cleared and then I thought right, two laps to go and attack.

“Then I had the massive moment so I said ok, you can have it. I cruised round the last lap, honestly on the last lap I hardly even braked I was going that slow, I just thought ok just take the podium and it’s done. Maverick rode a good race and so did Marc, we have to give credit to Marc, he was the runaway winner again today and we managed to take some points off his competitors in the Championship again.

Post-race Press Conference: German GP

“Honestly speaking I would have put a lot more pressure on Maverick and I would have passed him if Rins hadn’t have gone down, and I was willing to take the risk today to be on the podium or not. But once Rins went down, we were catching him anyway, but once he went down it was quite an easy podium. At one point we had nine seconds to the guys behind, which is a really strange race around here so as I said really pleased.”

Crutchlow will go again at Brno in three weeks’ time – the scene of his first MotoGP™ victory back in 2016. Can a – hopefully – fully fit Cal challenge for podium number three of the season in the Czech Republic?

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