Cal Crutchlow believes slower riders cost him the chance to have a shot at topping the timesheets on the final day of the second MotoGP test at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia today.
After an early rain interruption the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider was lying in sixth place when the majority of the field went into time attack mode in the final hour of the day.
With extreme temperatures dropping in the late afternoon and a host of soft tyres available, the final hour resembled a qualifying session, as riders went out for fast runs to try and improve their pace.
Crutchlow was among them and he was looking on course to jump ahead of Dani Pedrosa’s best time of 2.00.562 when he came across slower riders, including Spanish CRT rider Hector Barbera.
Barbera has gained a reputation for repeatedly slowing in practice and qualifying to tail a faster rider and after an incident late in the day today, Crutchlow was furious again.
He told MCN: “I’m a bit disappointed to be only sixth on the final day. I got badly held up on my final laps when everybody was pushing for a fast time.
Normally I can really pull a lap out when I need to but it just wasn’t possible with the traffic. Barbera and I had a few words because it is so dangerous. As you come down the back straight they are looking behind them and always looking for a tow. I don’t care if somebody follows me but don’t get in my way when I’m doing fast laps. It is dangerous because they are sat on the right side of the track doing about 50mph and I’m doing about 200mph.
They leave you no room at all. It wouldn’t be so bad if they pulled to one side and then pulled in behind you coming out of the last corner. They ride slowly and if you hit them there is going to be a big crash. They don’t understand but I think I could have been fastest if I would have really pushed but every lap I did there was somebody in my way.”
Crutchlow ended up sixth quickest today with a best lap of 2.01.094 but he enjoyed another positive week having finished fourth overall courtesy of his best lap of 2.00.907 set on the only full dry day yesterday (Wednesday).
He did a distance run of 13-laps in gruelling heat and humidity today but had to abandon a full race simulation attempt to avoid running out of fuel.
He added: “I wasn’t supposed to do a race simulation but I felt good and decided to carry on. But the team pulled me in because they knew there wasn’t enough fuel in the tank. It wasn’t the pace of (Jorge) Lorenzo’s long run but it wasn’t far off and he is on the factory bike, so that is encouraging.
To be fourth overall is very positive and I definitely think we are in the mix. My target was to be close to the factory guys and we are not too far away.”
For nine pages of coverage from the Sepang MotoGP test, see the March 6 issue of Motor Cycle News.