Cal Crutchlow shortens steep learning curve

Published: 04 February 2011

Cal Crutchlow is confident he is making big progress with learning how to master Yamaha's YZR-M1 machine after he ended only his second MotoGP test with the 17th quickest time.

The British rider, who crashed heavily on the second day, clocked a best time of 2.02.717 to finish just under two seconds away from Marco Simoncelli at the head of the pack.

Crutchlow said he was happy to be coping with the challenge of adapting to the lighter and more powerful YZR-M1 after his switch from World Superbikes at the end of last season.

And he was also satisfied to have been able to lap consistently in the 2.02 bracket.
Speaking to MCN he said: "I feel more comfortable on the bike but I'm still riding it like a superbike. There are about five things I need to improve but I try and do one at a time and normally when I do one I forget about the others and it is really mentally taxing. If you'd have said to me first time here having never seen the circuit and being in the 2s, I'd have taken that. If you look at the others in that sort of area, Capirossi has been riding for years in MotoGP. Elias has won a MotoGP race before and he's Moto2 world champion. I can't really ask for much more than what I'm doing at the moment."

Crutchlow said he still needs to break old WSB habits that creep into his riding but he completed nearly 130 laps to gain vital experience ahead of his rookie season in the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team.

He added: "I'm used to a superbike and doing everything really smooth to be honest. They do things quite harsh here and it works. They brake so hard and they release the brake so fast. They go round the corner so fast and then they open the throttle so hard but they pick the bike up. On a superbike you pick the bike up but not as fast as here. And it is twice as physical as riding a superbike. That's power and weight and stiffness of the chassis and how late you brake because the braking zone is so small. The faster you go the better the bike feels but it is getting to do it. It doesn't feel that natural yet but I'm not that far away."