Cal Crutchlow believes he could have finished inside the top three at the end of a rain-hit opening practice day at the Motorland Aragon circuit in Spain.
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider sat out this morning’s opening session with mixed conditions making it virtually impossible to complete any meaningful testing.
When this afternoon’s second session got underway, heavy rain was falling on the Motorland Aragon track and Crutchlow was a presence in the top three for the majority of the session.
But as the rain stopped and the track began to slowly dry out, the 26-year-old dropped back to seventh place on the final timesheets having encountered a steering damper issue that had been damaged in his early crash out of the recent Misano race.
The 2009 World Supersport champion, who is locked in an exciting four-rider tussle for fifth place in the world championship standings, set a best time of 2.01.665.
That time left Crutchlow 1.446s off the best pace set by factory Yamaha rider Ben Spies but he was only 0.039s behind German rookie Stefan Bradl in sixth.
Crutchlow, who recently ended a 12-year drought for a British rider to score a premier class podium when he took third in Brno, told MCN: “We should have been a lot faster than what we were.
"Something was broken on the bike and in the full wet at the start of the session it didn’t really make a difference because you are not really hard on the power. But as it dried it got worse and worse and we found the steering damper had been damaged in the crash at Misano.
"The bike was quite violent but I wasn’t sure what was wrong with it. I think I showed we had really good pace and when it was wet at the start I was always in the top three and at one stage leading. I was happy enough with that but when it started to come dry we had some problems but nothing really dramatic.”
With more rain forecast for tomorrow’s final practice and qualifying but predictions for Sunday’s race to be staged in the dry, Crutchlow said he and most of the MotoGP field will be at a significant disadvantage to Spies, Jorge Lorenzo, Dani Pedrosa and Jonathan Rea.
All four took part in a two-day test in dry conditions at the Motorland Aragon earlier this month and Crutchlow added: “Sunday will be a disaster though because you will see the guys who were here testing for a second time will just ride away from the rest of us because they had valuable track time. And it is proving even more valuable now with the weather like this.”