British rider Cal Crutchlow believes Sunday’s inaugural MotoGP clash at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) will be a Honda dominated affair after the RC213V machine dominated the opening day of practice in Texas.
It was no surprise to see Marc Marquez dominating the timesheets today after his stunning performance in a private test at COTA last month.
But his best time of 2.05.031 put him a massive 1.606s clear of reigning world champion and Qatar winner Jorge Lorenzo, with Dani Pedrosa and Stefan Bradl completing a Honda clean sweep of the top three.
Lorenzo was fourth and it was no surprise to see the five who had tested at COTA last month claiming the top five places on the combined opening day leaderboard.
Crutchlow aimed to be the best of the rest and he was in a respectable sixth position after he posted a quickest lap of 2.06.899 to finish 1.868s behind the Repsol Honda of Marquez.
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider, who finished fifth in the opening round in Qatar earlier this month, told MCN: “It is obviously a Honda track because they are not taking that much time out of Lorenzo. Lorenzo will salvage something but you won’t catch the Honda and they need to be worried about Bradl as well to be honest. It looks like they have to ride a lot less hard than what we do to do the lap time but that’s a lot to do with the point and squirt.”
Crutchlow said he expects to finish Sunday’s 21-lap race in sixth position if the five in front of him all make it to the chequered flag.
He got as high as fourth during the second 45-minute session but added: “Sixth position which is where I will finish if all goes to plan. I was fourth for a while but I am nowhere near Marquez but I can’t be expected to be. Yamaha is struggling round here and it is not just me. If there’s a bit more grip it might suit us.
We need to stop the bike better but with no testing here I don’t think we are doing a bad job. Now I’m on the limit in braking and I shouldn’t be and we are losing time in that area. We need to change the bike to gain some tenths.”