Cal Crutchlow climbs into top three in Sepang

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Cal Crutchlow took full advantage of improved track conditions in scorching heat at the Sepang track in Malaysia today to move into the top three on the timesheets.

The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider knocked a massive 1.3s off his best pace from the opening day to finish with a personal best time of 2.00.907 that put him behind Spanish duo Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa.

Crutchlow was less than 0.2s off his overall best time set at the first test of 2013 in Malaysia earlier this month as he primarily focused on making his YZR-M1 machine more agile in fast changes of direction.

The 27-year-old, who finished 0.256s behind Repsol Honda rider Pedrosa, said: “There didn’t seem to be a lot of grip out there again today although the lap times have improved a lot. We tried something different with the front fork setting, which was in a similar direction to what Jorge (Lorenzo) uses and there were some good and bad points like with most things you test.

I’m happy with my pace because we’ve tried a couple of different settings and we need to work on fine-tuning the best one. The main goal has been trying to stop the front of the bike lifting so much when I change direction on the throttle.  The bike feels quite heavy so we need to reduce how much the fork comes up without sacrificing too much in another area like the braking.

I’m sure if I had put in some new tyres at the start of the day I could have gone faster. But I waited to use mine around lunch and I still went faster, even though the track temperature was much higher at that point. I’m not really too concerned about the times though. I’m just concentrating on making the package we have got better for the first race in Qatar.”

For more from Crutchlow in nine pages of coverage from the second Sepang test, see the March 6 issue of Motor Cycle News.

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt