Cal Crutchlow continues dazzling winter form

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Cal Crutchlow’s brilliant winter testing campaign continued today (Friday) when the British rider clocked the fifth quickest time at the start of the final pre-season test in Jerez.

The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider was the fastest non-factory rider on track, with a best pace of 1.40.130 in a mammoth 74-lap stint putting him in front of Nicky Hayden, Alvaro Bautista, team-mate Andrea Dovizioso and Valentino Rossi.

Crutchlow’s best time was less than 0.2s behind factory Yamaha rider Ben Spies in fourth and he was less than a second behind reigning world champion Casey Stoner, who set the fastest time of the day on his final lap.

The 26-year-old told MCN: “The lap times are really consistent and that is good for me. That was an area I needed to work on and it was something that during the winter I talked to the team about a lot.

“We are not battling with the factory boys but being a satellite team rider I can’t really ask for too much more. To be in fifth place shows I have been able to carry on the momentum gained from the last test in Sepang but it is crucial as well because it shows the Yamaha is working on a completely different track.

“This place is like a go-kart track compared to Sepang but we have a good feeling at both, and that is a positive sign.”

One bonus for Crutchlow today was 69 of his 74-laps were completed on the harder compound Bridgestone rear tyre.

He added: “Last year on the 800 I could never get the hard tyre to work at all. Only Jorge (Lorenzo) really felt strong on the hard tyre but today the only laps I did on the soft were the first five.

“Maybe I’m a little surprised to be fifth fastest because this is only the second time I’ve ridden on this track. Most of the other guys have been here for 10 years, and that’s why I did so many laps today.

“I need more experience and it is a good feeling to be where I am. But there are a lot of guys behind capable of going faster, so I need to focus on my own job and try and improve the bike.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt