'I've been close at a couple of races like Sachsenring and some others in the past, but nothing is greater than winning' - Cal Crutchlow
Britain's Cal Crutchlow hailed his maiden MotoGP success as the 'best feeling in the world' after the LCR Honda rider outsmarted his rivals to win in the wet at Brno in the Czech Republic.
Crutchlow fitted hard Michelin tyres front and rear and as the opposition began to flounder around him, he charged through on the drying track to take control, pulling clear to win by more than seven seconds from Valentino Rossi.
The 30-year-old's victory was a landmark achievement in motorcycling's top tier championship, coming 35 years after Barry Sheene last won in Sweden in 1981.
“I'm really pleased and obviously it's been a long time coming. I've been close at a couple of races like Sachsenring [where Crutchlow finished second] and some others in the past, but nothing is greater than winning,” he said.
“Sure, we won a tricky race, but I made the best tyre choice on the grid and I felt that if I went with the hard, rear I had to go with the hard front.
“Honestly, it's the best feeling in the world because yesterday I made a disaster and I had to say sorry to my team and to Honda because I don't think there was any conceivable part left on the bike because it must've went six-and-a-half feet in the air – just the engine.
“The rest was completely destroyed so they had to work really hard to build me a bike for today and it's really nice to repay them.”
Crutchlow felt in total control in the closing stages and said he was able to 'cruise around' to close out the win because his grip levels were far superior as the race neared a conclusion.
“It's a long race I can tell you and it's a long race when Lucio [Cecchinello] is hanging over pit wall, jumping up and down,” Crutchlow said.
“If I could have taken my hand off the bar I would've stuck my middle finger up to say, 'go back inside to the garage and have a coffee or something!'
“I had so much grip compared to the other guys and I was cruising around. I knew the race would come to me in then end. It was really difficult on the first five laps, not with the front really, but with the rear tyre on the left-hand side because it was difficult to heat but once it started to dry it was perfect.”
With John McPhee winning the Moto3 race and Sam Lowes taking third place in the Moto2 race, Crutchlow admitted there was a feel good factor amongst the British riders ahead of their home round at Silverstone.
“It's been a great day and I'm really pleased for John because he's worked really hard over the years to be competitive. He does everything right to be there and Sam did a great job as well,” he said.
“I think Sam said the me that he hadn't finished a wet race in six years – he's maybe crashed and got back on, but he's crashed in every wet race in six years so he did a good job today. It's an incredible day for the British riders and it's great to go to Silverstone with that hype.
“It was 35 years since Barry Sheene won a Grand Prix and to be mentioned in the same sentence as him is some really nice and it's perfect timing for the crowds for Silverstone,” added Crutchlow.
“The first thing people say to me is, 'what's your emotion after winning'. I last won six years ago [in WSBK] and the emotion then was different to how it is now. I really feel that the biggest emotion I had was three weeks ago when Willow was born, so I don't think it compares in that sense but that being said, it's the best day of my racing career and the best emotion of my racing career. Hopefully it can happen again.”
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