LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow narrowly missed out on a place on the front row for Sunday’s French Grand Prix after a thrilling day of MotoGP qualifying at Le Mans. The Briton maintained his impressive level of performance this season as he claimed fourth place on the grid and finished Saturday’s action as the leading Honda rider in the premier class.
With wet weather once again complicating matters at the famous French circuit, Crutchlow went second fastest in FP3 on a drying track – just behind compatriot Scott Redding. The LCR Honda man carried that form into qualifying itself and was on pole with a couple of minutes of the session remaining. But in a frantic finish, factory Yamaha riders, Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi, claimed first and second spots respectively, while home favourite Johann Zarco edged out Crutchlow in the battle for third, with Marc Marquez forced to settle for fifth position.
Crutchlow conceded he was disappointed to miss out on a front row start, but feels he’s well-placed to fight for the podium places in Sunday’s race.
Cal Crutchlow – 4th
(1’32.300 – lap 8 of 8)
“It was a decent day. It’s been a difficult and strange weekend so far as we haven’t had hardly any dry track time and even in qualifying the track wasn’t completely dry and in great shape. We did a good job as a team, but I made a sloppy lap at the end when I made some mistakes and I was disappointed to end up on the second row”.
“I feel quite good ahead of the race. But as you can see, at the moment it’s quite hard to be as competitive as the Yamaha, and the Honda takes a bit more setting up around this track. Hopefully tonight the engineers can work their magic and tomorrow we will be really competitive because, when we do get it right, we’re very, very fast. I’m looking forward to that and hopefully it will be a good day for us tomorrow.