CAL CRUTCHLOW paid tribute to his Honda team for helping him to a podium finish in the first race of the season.
His stunning result came after British rider revealed that the testing sessions at the Losail Circuit ahead of the race proved to be a ‘waste of time’.
It was Crutchlow’s first MotoGP race since he broke his ankle in a crash at Phillip Island last season.
He was still struggling in the free practice sessions as a result of pain caused by the high-speed crash.
However, once the lights went out in the desert, Crutchlow found himself in the leading group from the off.
“It’s great to be back and to be able to be back to race in MotoGP, let alone be on the podium,” he said.
“My team did a great job; we worked hard this weekend because the tests were a bit of a waste of time for me. Also this weekend has been a difficult for me.
“I played my cards right in the race. I felt good and once we started the race, I think me and Marc [Marquez] had a similar tactic to save the rear tyre and manage a little bit more.
“But then if we started to push the front we would have some problems with the front.
“So then as Marc said, we started to ride with the rear and it’s difficult to ride in that situation.
“It seems every race in MotoGP is always a battle and it was nice to be in it and nice to come here and get a podium.
“It’s a dream, to be honest, and we didn’t know that I was going to be coming back at all at one point, let alone to come back and get a podium and to be so competitive.”
Crutchlow said that his surgically repaired ankle did not affect him throughout the floodlit race.
But contact in the opening stages of the race left him with nursing a rather more surprising issue.
“Honestly, not to make a joke, my ass on the left cheek, somebody hit me with their footpeg and I couldn’t feel it for fifteen laps,” he said. “But I have no idea who it was!
“But my ankle was fine; I had no problem with the ankle at all. I only had trouble two times in the race, I got my foot stuck on the brake lever, but the reason I didn’t move it was because I couldn’t move my a**.”
The next Grand Prix takes place in Argentina on March 31.