Cal Crutchlow happy with early progress

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Cal Crutchlow declared himself happy at the conclusion to his first big MotoGP examination as he beat Valentino Rossi, Loris Capirossi and Toni Elias to finish the second day of testing at Valencia with the 13th fastest time.

Shrugging off a small crash yesterday afternoon, the Coventry rider took full advantage of sunny but breezy conditions to get in more crucial miles on the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 machine.

Shaving nearly a second off his best time from the opening day, the former World Supersport posted a quickest time 1.33.483 to sit 13th.

He was only 1.417s behind the impressive Casey Stoner, who continued to make an ominously easily transition to Honda’s factory RC212V machine.

Crutchlow was only 0.2s behind American team-mate Colin Edwards and he told MCN: “To do a 33.4 on my first test and never been round this track on this bike and never ridden this bike in the wet, I’m very happy.

"Ben’s fastest lap in the race was only 0.2s quicker and I’m only 0.5s off the fastest lap of the race. I was doing 33.7 and 33.8 after 35 laps on a tyre and race distance is only 30.

"I never made a massive improvement when I put new tyres in and normally I do. To be doing consistent 33s would have put me fifth or sixth in the race.

"But understanding the tyres with the chassis is the main thing to learn. Power and electronics feels normal. Being 1.4s off isn’t that bad.

"Valentino is riding around and he’s learning a new bike as well and we all know what he is capable of and look where he finished.

"By the first race next year he will be up there so I’ve got time as well to improve. I’m under no illusions how hard it is going to be but I’m looking forward to it.”

For an exclusive interview with Crutchlow on his thoughts at the Valencia test, see the November 17 issue of MCN.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt