Despite finishing in second place, Cal Crutchlow was left frustrated with Andrea Dovizioso’s tactics at the Japanese MotoGP in Motegi.
The satellite Honda rider secured his third podium of 2018 and his best result since his win in Argentina with second place today. However, in the early stages of the race Crutchlow was fighting with both Dovizioso and Marc Marquez.
Crutchlow eventually faded and looked like he was going to have his hands full, holding off the late charging Alex Rins for third. However, Dovizioso’s crash on the penultimate lap promoted the pair into two podium spots.
The Brit said that Dovizioso’s tactics made it extremely hard for anyone to make a run at him, with the Italian using the strengths of the Ducati to its full potential.
“The race was a strange one,” said Crutchlow. “I felt good, the problem is I should’ve went for the lead early on, but I was a little bit concerned about our power strategy about how id press the buttons on my own alone on the bike.
“So I decided to sit behind Dovi, I passed Marc and I thought if I can pass Dovi then them two can fight it out and they’re okay. I was looking to pass Dovi and Marc passed me back and I thought ok, now leave them to it a bit.
“I was still close to Marc but I wanted to keep half a second, simply because I didn’t want to run long in one of them braking zones at Honda’s home grand prix with Marc challenging for the title. I struggled a little bit for five laps with the rear grip but when the pace went back up I felt good.
“The problem was Dovi was yo-yoing the pace again. Now we know the strategy of the Ducati, which he’s done for 4-5 races in a row now. They do 2-3 fast laps, and then he slows the pace down. Then he does 2-3 fast laps again and slows the pace down, but that allows Alex and the group behind to catch and there’s nothing you can do about it, it’s so difficult to pass. I probably should’ve attacked Dovi earlier and let them fight it out for second place.”
Crutchlow also wanted to send his congratulations to HRC stablemate Marquez on his fifth MotoGP World Championship after winning the Japanese race.
“We’re really, really pleased,” he said. “Marc’s won the world title, finished first, I’ve finished second, it’s a great day in general for us. Congratulations to Marc, he’s been incredible all year.”