Cal Crutchlow’s injury heroics were rewarded tonight when he finished less than 0.2s away from the top six in the third and final practice session in Qatar.
The British rider finished only 12th on the combined timesheets but he was eighth in tonight’s first 45-minute session after he made big progress with his pace on the hard Bridgestone rear tyre.
He was almost a second quicker than his best pace on the opening night at the Losail International Circuit and he finished with a best time of 1.56.437 to finish less than 0.2s behind Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team-mate Colin Edwards in sixth.
He was just over a tenth behind nine-times world champion Valentino Rossi and the 2009 World Supersport champion said: “To be as close as I was to the top six, I can’t really ask for too much more. I wasn’t following anybody either and I was doing the times on my own, so that gives me a lot of confidence too.
"I’m much happier on the harder tyre now too. I was consistently in the 56s and that’s a big step forward on last night and I don’t really think the final position does us justice.
"Considering how sore my finger is and my shoulder is starting to hurt a bit now as well, I can’t complain.
"I actually think I could have gone quicker but when I put in a soft tyre at the end the front had got a few laps on it and it was moving around when I pushing.
"But I feel a lot more comfortable on the bike and we’ve got a few ideas for tomorrow night, so I can improve a bit more.”