Crutchlow ousts Spanish favourites

Yamaha Tech 3 racer Cal Crutchlow claims second pole of the season at Czech MotoGP ahead of Spaniard Alvaro Bautista.

    Crutchlow ousts Spanish favourites
    Crutchlow is looking for his first MotoGP race win at Czech MotoGP on Sunday [AFP]

    Britain's Cal Crutchlow stunned the favourites in Saturday's qualifying session and grabbed pole position for
    Sunday's Czech MotoGP.

    The 27-year-old Yamaha rider clocked 1min 55.527sec, a new record at the 5.4-kilometre (3.4-mile) circuit in the southern Czech city of Brno, for his second pole position of the season.

    "A fantastic job today," said Crutchlow, lavishing praise on his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team.

    We did a good job at progressing every session. We've struggled this weekend in most sessions and we seem to be getting better and better as the weekend goes on

    Cal Crutchlow, British MotoGP rider

    "We did a good job at progressing every session. We've struggled this weekend in most sessions and we seem to be getting better and better as the weekend goes on."

    Crutchlow already dominated the free practices, clocking the fastest time in the third one on Saturday morning. In the qualification, he improved it by more than six tenths of a second.

    "I look forward to rest, tomorrow hopefully we can head for a podium," said Crutchlow, who had scored his first ever MotoGP podium finish in Brno last year when he finished third.

    Crutchlow, fifth in the MotoGP standings, edged eighth-ranked Alvaro Bautista of Spain in the qualifying.

    The Honda Gresini rider finished second 0.227 seconds behind Crutchlow after holding the circuit record for a few minutes himself.

    "I'll try to make a good start and push as hard as I can," said the 28-year-old, adding he had experienced problems with the rear grip in free practices.

    "Today we found something that helped me a lot and in the qualifying I (could) push so much," he said.

    Quietly confident

    Bautista's compatriot and overall leader Marc Marquez, who won the previous three MotoGP races, was third fastest, 0.336sec slower than Crutchlow.

    "I'm just a little disappointed for that qualifying practice because I felt I was ready to fight for the pole with Cal and Alvaro," said Marquez.

    "On the first tyres I tried to push but on the second when I tried to push a little more there was too much traffic... but (on the whole) I'm quite happy... and quite comfortable for tomorrow," he said.

    The 20-year-old Repsol Honda rider leads the championship after 10 of 18 races with 188 points, 21 ahead of his teammate Dani Pedrosa and 35 ahead of Yamaha's defending champion Jorge Lorenzo.

    Pedrosa will start from fourth and Lorenzo in fifth.

    Pedrosa won at Brno ahead of Lorenzo last year, while Marquez took the Moto2 victory before replacing Australia's Casey Stoner at Repsol Honda for this season.

    A week ago, Marquez won at Indianapolis to become the first rookie to win three consecutive premier-class races since American Kenny Roberts in 1978.

    In that same year, Roberts also won the championship - a feat unrivalled by a rookie to the present day.

    In Moto3, Spain's Alex Rins took the pole position on Saturday with a lap of 2min 07.622sec, the fastest time in both days.



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