Cal Crutchlow’s brilliant start to the 2013 MotoGP campaign continued today after the British rider set the third fastest time on the opening day of practice at the Jerez track in Spain.
A best lap of 1.39.733 left the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider only 0.171s adrift of factory Yamaha rival Jorge Lorenzo and only 0.029s behind Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa.
Crutchlow’s latest eye-catching performance didn’t go unnoticed too at Yamaha, with the 27-year-old revealing to MCN earlier that Japanese engineering staff from Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi’s garage had been to Tech 3 to confer with his crew on data and information gathered so far.
Although the sharing of data and information is standard procedure at Yamaha, Crutchlow said it was the first time he had seen Japanese engineering staff from Rossi and Lorenzo's factory team inside his satellite squad’s pit garage.
Crutchlow arrived in Jerez brimming with confidence after finishing inside the top five in Qatar and Texas, but he’d topped the timesheets in the final winter test at the Spanish track in late March.
And he said: “I think it is testament to my team that we had a lot of factory engineers coming round to our garage asking questions of what we are doing. The Japanese engineers for the two factory guys have been both been round asking for our data sheet and I think that is good and this is what we wanted to happen. I wanted to be the first satellite bike and that’s what is happening so I don’t think I am doing a bad job.”
While flattering that senior Yamaha technical staff were keen on his progress, Crutchlow told MCN it was hard to imagine how his feedback was going to be of significant use given he is on a different spec chassis and electronics package to Rossi and Lorenzo.
The former World Supersport champion though did reveal that Rossi and Lorenzo may evaluate his chassis spec during Monday’s post race test at Jerez.
He told MCN: “It is crucial for development but I am on a different bike to them so I can’t develop as such. I can give them the information I’ve got. Engine wise we are all the same but in other areas we are not. They say my feedback is crucial but I can’t really see how too much if I am not on the same package but I hear they are going to go back and try my chassis on Monday.
Each time I ask Jorge he says his chassis is worth 0.2s a lap better because it does everything mine does but less. So if mine moves four times then his moves two times. Hopefully they will try it and say it is better and then if we are all on the same then we can progress that chassis.
I’m forever thinking what is their chassis like and they are thinking what is mine like. I’m not developing anything and this is the first time I have seen those engineers in my garage.”