MotoGP: Crutchlow pleased with Phillip Island race pace

1 of 1

Cal Crutchlow has come away from the three days of testing pleased with the pace he’s able to set on the LCR Honda despite losing the time to set a fast lap on the final day of testing and to improve from fifth on the time sheets.

Instead concentrating on a long run, his race pace was impressive as he consistently set the third fastest runs of the week at the circuit where he took his second victory in October. Admitting that he, like everyone else, struggled with front tyres on a track 20ºC hotter than it was for the race, he conceded that it was worth sacrificing one flying lap for what they achieved.

“I missed the window to push for a lap time on the last day, because we had some problems with the bike and it wasn’t possible. But our main concentration was to do a long run and we did that – we got fifteen laps done. But we struggled so much with the front tyre. The tyre was too soft, and fifteen laps was all we could manage.  Anything beyond that was completely on the limit.

“Any lap time under 1:30 was a risk too, so to do a long run in the low 29s was very positive. We had some problems with the bike in the run too – I tried to reset the electronics and it didn’t really work, so I just carried on with my pace. The last lap was still in the 29s but it wasn’t that fast because I was shitting myself about the front tyre!”

However, the problems that the Honda riders have been facing persist for him, and he also admitted that the first few races of the season may well be a case of damage limitation for them.

“We need to make the bike more rideable, but that’s what we wanted last year too and we’re still asking for it. It’s difficult to ride. It’s fast in a straight line and fast over a lap time, but it’s hard to ride it. It’s exactly what you can see on TV – we’re permanently trying to control it, to save crashes. It means we have to do a lot of extra work compared to the others, and that makes it difficult over a race.

“We know that at Qatar the Ducatis are going to be rockets and that Jorge and Dovi have their best chance of winning there, so we have to just be there or thereabouts and do our best. We’ll see what we can do for the rest of the races after that!”

Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer