British rider Cal Crutchlow reckons MotoGP fans will be gripped by some hard and pulsating racing in 2013 after an enthralling start to pre-season testing at the Sepang track in Malaysia today.
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider set the sixth best time on a YZR-M1 machine that was fitted with an updated engine compared to the bike he rode in Valencia last November.
The motor though is not a completely new spec as Crutchlow told MCN it was the same version that reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo ended the 2012 campaign on.
The 27-year-old set a best time of 2.01.881 to finish 0.724s behind Spaniard Dani Pedrosa, who took the spoils on the opening day with a fastest pace of 2.01.157.
Crutchlow though believes the fascinating opening exchanges today are just a taste of what it is to come in 2013.
Rookie Marc Marquez was an impressive third fastest and Valentino Rossi enjoyed a brilliant return to Yamaha by setting the fourth best time after a nightmare two-year spell with Ducati.
The top seven, which also included Honda RC213V duo Stefan Bradl (5th) and Alvaro Bautista (7th) were split by just 0.824s and Crutchlow predicted a ‘big war’ when the new season gets underway in Qatar on April 7.
He told MCN: “It is clear looking at the top of the timesheets that it is going to be a fantastic season in MotoGP. It was clear to see from the first three hours on track that it is going to be a big war this year.
That top seven are going to be battling hard every week and I believe any of those seven can win a race at some point. But at some races it is going to be a big battle. I can see some great races this year and there is going to be some good action and scraps.”