Cal Crutchlow kicks off 2011 MotoGP bid

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British rider Cal Crutchlow has joined Valentino Rossi, Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa on track for the first time in Valencia earlier today.

The former World Supersport champion made his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 debut in sunny but blustery conditions after early rain delayed the start of the 2011 winter testing schedule. 

Crutchlow, who will partner experienced American Colin Edwards in 2011, has just completed over 20 laps so far and clocked a best time of 1.35.289.

That is only 1.7s slower than Repsol Honda rider and triple world champion Dani Pedrosa, who is currently at the top of the timesheets.

Today's test is the not the first time Crutchlow has ridden a YZR-M1 machine. He recently took part in a rain-hit shakedown at Yamaha's test track at Fukuroi. But it is the first time he has come face to face with big name rivals like Rossi, who made his long-awaited factory Ducati debut this morning.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt