Cal Crutchlow heads toward the start of the MotoGP season in jubilant mood after topping the timing sheets on the final day of testing wit the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider grabbing the fastest time ahead of a resurgent Valentino Rossi and his Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 while LCR Honda rider Stefan Bradl jumped to third position on a day that was, like the previous two days, affected by rain.
It is going to be a very exciting season and now I can't wait to get to Qatar.
Reigning MotoGP Champion Jorge Lorenzo finished his test in 4th place with a setting a time of 1m 40.105s with the Spanish rider followed into 5th by rookie Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) who was busy finding his way on the world famous Jerez De La Frontera circuit on the powerful 1000cc machine and he eventually set a best time of 1m 40.130s. Sitting in 6th on the final day is Pramac Racing’s Andrea Dovizioso with a best lap of 1m 40.331s with Nicky Hayden close behind on the factory Ducati setting a best time of 1m 40.370s while his teammate Andrea Dovizioso slotted into 8th spot on a best lap of 1m 40.516s. The top ten was rounded out by Ducati test rider Michelle Pirro (1m 40.881s) and best of the CRT men; Aspar’s Randy De Puniet who set a best lap of 1m 40.971s.
Yonny Hernandez finished in 17th on the Paul Bird Motorsport machine (1m 42.363s) with IodaRacing’s Danilo Petrucci in 18th with a best time of 1m 42.428s. Michael Laverty (Paul Bird Motorsport) finished in 19th setting a 1m 42.470s lap with GO&Fun Honda Gresini CRT rider Bryan Staring in 20th (1m 43.525s). Colin Edwards finished in 21st position for the Forward Racing team with a best time of 1m 56.281s while Hector Barbera ended the day in 22nd for Avintia Blusens team (1m 56.897s).
Crutchlow was really happy with his fastest overall time but remains focused on the first race in two weeks’ time. He said, “It is obviously very satisfying to finish the test with the fastest time because it shows what a really good job I did and what a great job my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team did too. It is a shame we didn't get the chance to get in a lot more dry laps but I have been very fast and consistent and that gives me a lot of confidence for when we return to Jerez for the third race. This morning's rain meant the track wasn't in a great condition in the last two hours and I felt I could have definitely gone faster if there was more grip available. But it is the same for everybody and we came out on top, so that's positive.
Each time I tried to improve my pace at the end I came across some traffic, so I've no doubt I could have gone faster. It has been a positive pre-season and I think I have shown I have made another big improvement for this year. This result gives me a lot of confidence going to Qatar but my goal will be to finish in the top six and get some early momentum like I did last season. It is going to be a very exciting season and now I can't wait to get to Qatar,” Crutchlow added.
Bradl carries a lot of confidence into the first race at Qatar. He said, “Today we just had one and half hour of acceptable track conditions after this morning rain showers. We confirmed our bike set-up from yesterday, which made me more confident with the front tyre and we made a further step forward. Then for the remaining laps, we tested a new set of tyres to improve our lap time and we had a good result despite some traffic in the last part of the session. Although we had here tricky conditions in the last 3 days, I think we are ready for the first race in Qatar which is a race track that I like”.