Cal Crutchlow makes flying start to 2012

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Cal Crutchlow kicked off preparations for the new 1000cc MotoGP world championship in 2012 in brilliant fashion today at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia.

The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider ended the opening day of winter testing with the third fastest time and he was only outpaced by Spanish duo Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa.

The former World Supersport champion posted a best time of 2.02.221 to finish 0.564s adrift of factory Yamaha rider Lorenzo.

He had factory Yamaha rider Ben Spies and Valentino Rossi trailing behind him, but the Isle of Man-based 26-year-old said he won’t be getting too carried away.

He told MCN: “I’m not getting over excited because let’s not forget this is only the first day of 2012 and it doesn’t really mean anything. But it is a positive start and I’m happy because I don’t like this track.

"I’ve never got on with it and I was pretty rusty this morning. I’ve only ridden a motocross bike for one morning since I jumped off the MotoGP bike in Valencia but I was back up to speed pretty quickly.

"I started to feel a bit weak towards the end of the day but I’m happy because the bike is basically the same spec as the one I rode in Valencia.

"We’ve still got a lot of work to do because the problems are the same I was having in Valencia. We’ve still got too much wheelspin and wheelie but the positive is that the bike kept all the good points of the 800. Corner entry is good and stability on the brakes is good, though that has never been my strong point anyway.

"Looking at the lap times today we are in a good position but we know we can only improve. We are not that far away but to me the bike feels like I am riding an 800 with lots more power.

"It is still good to come out on the first day of testing and be competitive and in the top positions rather than be struggling.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt