British rider Cal Crutchlow is bidding to challenge the elite factory four in this weekend’s Jerez MotoGP race to continue his brilliant start to the 2013 world championship campaign.
Crutchlow finished fifth behind reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo, Valentino Rossi, Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa in the floodlit season opener in Qatar last month.
And he was a fantastic fourth in the inaugural Texas clash at the Circuit of the Americas on a track he’d not tested on before like Marquez, Pedrosa, Lorenzo and Rossi had done in a private HRC and Yamaha test session.
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider has easily been the best non-factory rider in both races so far in 2013 and he arrives in Jerez for this weekend’s first European showdown of the season with confidence sky high.
The former World Supersport champion came close to a career first MotoGP podium in Jerez last season when he finished less than 0.5s behind Repsol Honda rider Pedrosa in third.
And despite his lack of experience of the Spanish venue compared to his rivals, Crutchlow was able to set the fastest time in the final pre-season test session at Jerez in late March.
Crutchlow said he expects a tough weekend but he is fired up to try and give the top factory four a run for their money in Sunday’s 27-lap race.
The Isle of Man resident told MCN: “Jerez is going to be a lot more difficult to finish fourth than what it was in Texas because there are more guys that can go faster at Jerez. They’ve got more experience and it is a track where Dani and Jorge are very, very fast and Marc will also be fast. And Valentino could potentially win the race. He was as fast as me at the test anyway but I take some good confidence from Texas and I come into Jerez battling and they know I’m ready to battle.”