Crutchlow dazzles in Spanish sunshine

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team's Cal Crutchlow had a great start in the MotoGP Friday practices in Jerez

The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Cal Crutchlow made a flying start to the European phase of the 2013 MotoGP World Championship today, the British rider launching a stunning challenge for the top three in both practice sessions at the Circuito de Jerez. Fourth quickest in cooler than anticipated conditions in FP1 this morning, Crutchlow was only 0.046s outside of the top three to continue his fantastic form at the Jerez track. The 27-year-old battled for the podium right to the finish line in Jerez a year ago and he produced an impressive performance in the final winter test session at the Spanish venue in late March to top the timesheets. With air and track temperatures increasing significantly in bright and sunny conditions for FP2, Crutchlow was able to improve his pace and position to once again comfortably finish as the fastest non-factory rider. A best lap of 1.39.733 elevated Crutchlow into second place behind reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo, who was only 0.171s quicker in a session that saw the top five split by just 0.327s. The former World Supersport champion finished third fastest on the combined leaderboard and after such a positive start to the weekend, Crutchlow is optimistic he will be in the hunt for a podium in Sunday’s 27-lap race.

Cal Crutchlow, Monster Yamaha Tech 3
Cal Crutchlow, Monster Yamaha Tech 3

Photo by: Bridgestone Corporation

Bradley Smith enjoyed a productive start to his weekend too, the 22-year-old helped by the fact that he has lapped the Jerez track previously on the YZR-M1 machine during the winter testing schedule. He took it steady this morning with a track temperature of only 20 degrees and a lap of 1.41.778 put him 17th on the timesheets. Smith was able to improve by almost a second in hotter conditions for FP2, which saw the track temperature soar to 45 degrees. Smith lowered his pace to a 1.40.990 and that lap time secured him an encouraging 13th on the FP2 leaderboard and 14th overall, with the British rookie hoping he can take another big leap forward tomorrow to challenge for a place in the top 10 on the grid for round three of the 2013 World Championship.

Cal Crutchlow 3rd, Time - 1'39.733

“It was quite a tough day because we made a lot of changes that meant the bike was set-up completely different than the way we had it at the test. We made it a little bit longer and lower to give me a good feeling because while I was able to set the fastest time at the test, the track temperature was much higher today and it meant the bike was not working perfectly with the set-up we ran at the test. I was changing bikes during FP2 and doing a lot of laps to try as many things as possible and I am positive for the rest of the weekend. We’ve got a few ideas to improve even further tomorrow and I will sit down with my crew tonight and have a good look at the data to come up with a plan of attack for the rest of the weekend. My Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team is doing a great job again and being competitive and fast today gives us a lot of confidence to take into Saturday and Sunday.”

Bradley Smith 14th, Time - 1'40.990

“The nice thing about today is I was able to go a little bit faster than I managed at the test, so the gap to the front is still quite similar. I haven’t lost anything but I’m a little bit disappointed that I didn't gain anything as well. I am a lot happier after this afternoon’s session though and my main focus was on trying to ride the bike in a smoother way. It is so important to be smooth on a MotoGP bike and I’m still working on that. I’m losing most of my time in sector 4 and we’ll check some data and see where I can improve. But it was another good day of learning and I’m looking forward to taking another step forward tomorrow.”

Yamaha Racing

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series MOTOGP
Article type Practice report
Tags crutchlow, jerez, motogp, smith, yamaha