Cal Crutchlow needs more time to evaluate revised Yamaha motor

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Cal Crutchlow ended the opening day of the second Sepang test in Malaysia with the seventh fastest time as scorching hot temperatures and then torrential rain thwarted his bid to properly assess a revised Yamaha YZR-M1 engine spec.

The British rider set a best time of 2.03.213 before monsoon conditions struck the Sepang circuit at 2pm to badly disrupt the opening afternoon of the three-day test.

The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider joined Casey Stoner and Jorge Lorenzo in not returning to the track after the rain interruption, despite significantly improved conditions in the final hour of the day.

Sizzling track temperatures in the morning that nudged over 60 degrees and the early afternoon downpour restricted Crutchlow’s chance to gauge the updated Yamaha motor, which was used by Lorenzo and factory team-mate Ben Spies during the first Sepang test in early February.

The 26-year-old told MCN: “We had something to try with the engine today but whether it is the right direction for us to go we are not sure yet. We need more time.

“It isn’t anymore powerful but it works in a different way to try and help with corner entry stability on the brakes and acceleration. I didn’t get many laps on it to be honest and when I was out on it the track condition wasn’t very good with the heat and I’d already done a lot of laps on the tyres.

“I couldn’t tell a big difference but we’ll go out tomorrow and try it again and hope to get some better understanding of it.

“For me the bigger improvement was on corner entry rather than acceleration. Corner entry for me has always been one of the Yamaha’s strongest features but this new engine is designed to prevent the bike moving around too much under braking so you can brake a bit later and stop in a shorter distance.

“I just didn’t have time to properly assess it though because the track was so dirty this morning and the surface temperature was 62 degrees, so it was seriously hot. But I’m happy enough because I didn’t put any new tyres in, so I know I can go quicker.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt