Crutchlow says Honda MotoGP riders flattering their bike

The Yamaha remains a superior MotoGP bike to the Honda and Marc Marquez's Austin victory only happened because he outperformed his machinery, reckons Cal Crutchlow.

Crutchlow says Honda MotoGP riders flattering their bike
Cal Crutchlow, Team LCR Honda, Johann Zarco, Monster Yamaha Tech 3
Cal Crutchlow, Team LCR Honda
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team
Cal Crutchlow, Team LCR Honda
Race winner Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team
Cal Crutchlow, Team LCR Honda
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team, Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team, Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing
Podium: race winner Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team, third place Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team
Cal Crutchlow, Team LCR Honda

Honda's win in America interrupted a Yamaha-dominated start to the 2017 season, which had begun with back-to-back victories for Maverick Vinales.

At the Circuit of the Americas, Honda ran first and second for much of the race with Marquez and Dani Pedrosa, until Valentino Rossi split them with three laps to go.

But Crutchlow, who finished fourth on his LCR-run Honda, argued the presence of three Hondas in the top four was testament to the riders' performance rather than evidence of a turnaround.

"Yamaha was a lot better than the Honda [in the Austin race] and the Honda riders rode a lot better than the Yamaha ones," he said.

"It's as simple as that. Marc and Dani did a good job. At one point I thought maybe we could make it a 1-2-3 but Valentino really upped the pace in the middle of the race."

Crutchlow said the amount of falls involving Hondas overall showed how difficult the bike remained.

He and Marquez have crashed five times in official sessions in 2017 already, with Pedrosa falling three times - which Crutchlow joked was more than Pedrosa has had in many full seasons.

Rossi has yet to crash at all, while Vinales has had two accidents including one in the Austin race.

"I still have the same problem as last year with the front end," said Crutchlow. "You see how many times the Honda crashed with the front end? We're pushing the front too much and it's not cool."

Crutchlow believes the Honda riders are having to perform at such a high level in their current situation that they will be better than ever when the bike's problems are solved.

"I think I'm riding better as a person. I think we're riding stronger as a manufacturer, the riders," he said.

"We're having to ride around a lot of stuff and we know that when it improves it's going to be a lot, lot better. It's just going to take some time.

"I expect Jerez [the next round] to be better for Marc and Dani because they've tested there.

"We might have to play catch-up a little bit to them there, but I think we are as competitive as Dani at the moment and also Marc in some areas."

Additional reporting by Charles Bradley

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