Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Cal Crutchlow maintained his excellent qualifying form in 2013 to claim a fantastic fifth position on the grid for tomorrow’s 28-lap Misano MotoGP encounter in San Marino.
Still searching for the optimum set-up with his YZR-M1 to allow him to show the potential that has taken to four rostrum finishes and two pole positions in 2013, Crutchlow dug deep to find his best form of the weekend in a record-breaking QP2.
In gloriously sunny and hot conditions at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, which lies just a short distance from the Adriatic coast, Crutchlow shaved another 0.6s off his best pace to claim a place in the middle of the second row for tomorrow’s 13th round of the campaign.
Crutchlow’s brilliant performance this afternoon ensured in 13 qualifying sessions this season he has not yet finished lower than fifth position.
British teammate Bradley Smith also featured in QP1 and he came tantalisingly close to making it through to the second session when a time of 1.34.869 saw him miss out on a top two place by just 0.175s.
The 22-year-old was pushing hard on his final lap to try and join the battle for the top 12 grid positions when he suffered a small front-end crash at Turn 14. He was uninjured in the spill and he will start tomorrow’s race from 13th on the grid, and he remains optimistic that he can fight for a ninth top 10 finish in his rookie season.
Cal Crutchlow (Position 5th - Time 1.34.014 - Laps 9): “It has not been an easy weekend at all and having to go into QP1 for the first time this season was proof of that. So considering how difficult it has been I am really pleased to be starting on the second row of the grid. This afternoon was much better and as I always do, I managed to pull something out of the bag in qualifying.
I am always strong in this situation but I really had to be today to get myself out of trouble. We still need to find something else for the race because the gap to the front is pretty big. I am definitely trying my hardest but I have lost some confidence on the bike since the middle of the season and now I have to improve to go faster.
One area I definitely need to look at is T3 because I am not fast enough in that sector. I’ll try and get a good start and go with the leading group and I will be doing my best to deliver a positive result for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team.”
Bradley Smith (Position 13th - Time 1.34.869 - Laps 8): “Unfortunately today didn’t go according to plan at all and being 13th on the grid is not ideal. I improved my pace from yesterday by over a second but clearly it is not enough.
I’ve crashed twice now this weekend by losing the front, so it shows we have a problem and we will have a good look at the data tonight to find some improvements in that area.
We made a really good step overnight with the bike for FP3, but this afternoon we didn’t really make any progress. It is going to be a very tough race and if I can get a top 10 finish I will class that as an amazing result."