Cal Crutchlow believes he and German Grand Prix winner Marc Marquez would have been fighting for the victory even if MotoGP title protagonists Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo had been fit to race.
Marquez’s second success of his rookie season saw him assume the points lead from Honda team-mate Pedrosa, who along with Yamaha rider Lorenzo was forced the miss the race through injury.
After the race, Marquez claimed that winning “felt a little bit different” without the pair’s involvement and said he would have preferred to have raced “with more riders in front”.
However, Crutchlow believes Marquez’s pace was such that he would have been the man to beat in any scenario.
“I don’t think Marc should discredit the result,” he said. “Even if they [Pedrosa and Lorenzo] weren’t here, the pace he showed was so fast – even faster than last year. I believe the result could have been the same.”
Crutchlow, contending with his own injury woes from practice crashes, had to recover from sixth at the end of the first lap having been balked at the start.
He hounded Marquez in the closing stages but could not get close enough to attempt a pass.
The Briton said he was happy to equal his best MotoGP result as it proved the Tech 3 Yamaha was now on par with the factory bikes.
“I think I tried my best,” he added. “I came back as close as I could and I never gave up. I had to make some passes but I’m pleased with this result. It’s good to be up [on the podium] – I’m feeling completely drained after the crashes.
“My guys have done a fantastic job and now we’re finally able to be consistently challenging at the front.”