Bradley Smith also enjoyed a magnificent start to the final round of 2013, the British rider storming to the fourth best time this morning.
Cal Crutchlow warmed up for his final appearance in the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team in Valencia with an incredibly strong performance in today’s two practice sessions at the tight and twisty Ricardo Tormo track.
In gloriously sunny and warm conditions this morning, Crutchlow was an encouraging seventh fastest with a quickest pace of 1.32.434 that left him just 0.052s outside of the top six.
Only dominant Spanish trio Marc Marquez, Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo lapped faster than the 28-year-old today, who is hoping to mount a podium challenge in his last appearance for the French-based Monster Yamaha Tech 3 squad in front of a sell-out crowd on Sunday.
Crutchlow walked away unhurt from a crash on his last lap at Turn 11 to finish just 0.124s outside of the top three and 0.282s away from the best lap posted by Marquez, as he once again led the non-factory challenge in Valencia.
Teammate Bradley Smith also enjoyed a magnificent start to the final round of 2013, the British rider storming to the fourth best time this morning. Smith took full advantage of the surprisingly pleasant conditions to clock a best time of 1.32.086 that saw him eclipse the pace of Valentino Rossi and Crutchlow on the Yamaha YZR-M1 machine.
Smith was able to lap slightly faster in FP2 and he was eventually eighth on the combined rankings, but encouragingly he was just a fraction over 0.5s away from the top six, as he concentrated on assessing both soft and hard rear Bridgestone options ahead of the 30-lap race.
Cal Crutchlow (4th 1.31.502 – 42 laps): “I am happy with my start to the weekend because this afternoon I made a big improvement and I felt fast and strong in FP2. I am disappointed that I crashed right at the end of this afternoon’s session. I didn’t have a bad feeling with the bike but I was trying to improve the bike in the corners and I lost the front. I was trying to roll through the corner faster but obviously I have found the limit.
But it was a very positive session and I am in the top four and being so close to that Spanish trio gives us a lot of confidence for the rest of the last weekend. My crew did a great job again today and this is a difficult weekend knowing I am leaving after this race. But that makes me even more determined to ensure the last race is a positive one and we can end a brilliant time together on a high.”
Bradley Smith (8th 1.31.985 – 45 laps): “The great thing about today is that I felt immediately comfortable on the bike. This morning’s fourth position though made the situation look a bit better than it probably was because I put in a brand new tyre right at the end of the session to set my fastest time.
This afternoon I was able to improve again and it was good because we got time on the soft and hard Bridgestone options to assess both for the race. We still have a little bit to find with the setting on the hard tyre and we will try and use it again tomorrow to get as much information as possible before deciding what will be the choice for the race. But it has been a positive first day and I am quite close to the front so I am looking forward to the rest of the weekend.”