British rider Cal Crutchlow expressed concern about the top speed of his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 machine after he ended the first day of practice at the Motorland Aragon track in sixth position.
The 27-year-old was happy with his best lap time of 1.49.840 that made him the only rider in the top seven who had not tested at the Motorland Aragon circuit back in June.
Crutchlow edged out factory Yamaha rival Valentino Rossi to claim a top six position on an opening day in Spain dominated by Honda, with Marc Marquez, Stefan Bradl and Dani Pedrosa taking a clean sweep of the top three.
But a cause for concern for the former World Supersport champion was the top speed deficit on the long back straight that runs from the tight Turn 15 into the penultimate corner.
Speed charts showed Crutchlow’s YZR-M1 hitting a top speed of 198.76mph. That was over 7mph slower than German Bradl’s LCR Honda RC213V and Crutchlow was also the slowest of the 12 factory prototype 1000cc bikes in action.
Reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo had the best Yamaha speed in fourth place on the speed charts, the Spaniard registering a personal best of 203.12mph.
Crutchlow, who narrowly missed out on a podium at the Motorland Aragon a year ago, said: “I was quite pleased to be sixth after not testing here and not being too far away. I am losing everything on the straight. I am losing on average 12 to 13kph on Bradl every single lap and I am at full power, so the bike won’t go any faster.
"It is not like we are cutting to save fuel on the straight and I am an average 7kph down on the factory Yamaha but that’s with their new gearbox they have no delay in the cut. I get off the corner quicker than them but when they change to third gear it is ‘see you later.’
"There is nothing I can do about it but I can’t be giving up that sort of speed every single lap. It takes me the rest of the lap to try and catch back up but it is disappointing because I am riding quite well over the rest of the lap.”
By admitting that his YZR-M1 is already running full power, Crutchlow did come up with novel idea to solve the issue when asked by MCN if there was anything he could do to extract precious more speed out of his bike.
He said: “I am going to ride naked tomorrow. I need to drop five kilos and we have worked out that my helmet and leathers weigh about that. I’ll keep my helmet on though.
"There is nothing we can do though because we are at full power. We always know the Yamaha is slower than the Honda but now the factory team have the seamless gearbox they have closed it a little bit and they are still a lot slower but for us it is embarrassing. We are on average 5kph above the fastest CRT. I’ve got what I’ve got and hopefully I will go faster tomorrow.”