Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Cal Crutchlow will start tomorrow's Gran Premio bwin De Espana from fourth position on the grid after the British rider experienced a day of contrasting fortunes at the Jerez track today.
The British rider's sparkling form in the early part of 2013 continued this morning when he topped the timesheets in FP3 with a best time of 1.38.975 that was close to a full second faster than Dani Pedrosa's current lap record.
Pushing hard to try and move into the top three, Crutchlow lost the front of his YZR-M1 machine at the final corner shortly after the halfway stage. Demonstrating tremendous determination and courage, Crutchlow rushed back to the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team garage to immediately return to the track and try again to clinch a place on the front row for the ninth time in his MotoGP career.
But despite a heroic effort he had to settle for a best time of 1.39.262 that was only 0.291s away from Marc Marquez in third. Crutchlow underwent medical checks in the Clinica Mobile immediately after the session after complaining of lower back pain but he has been given the all-clear to start tomorrow's race.
Teammate Bradley Smith will start the 27-lap race from 12th position after he enjoyed a positive day at the Circuito de Jerez. Smith produced a brilliant display in QP1 to post a lap of 1.39.990 that put him into one of the top two places he needed to advance into QP2 where the top 12 grid positions are determined.
Satisfied to have claimed a place on one of the front four rows for the third time in his rookie season, Smith was less than 0.5s away from a top 10 place on the grid. And the 22-year-old is confident he can battle for a second successive points scoring finish in tomorrow's race, which is predicted to take place in searing heat and humidity in Southern Spain.
Cal Crutchlow (4th, Time - 1'32.262): "It has been a very difficult day for obvious reasons. The two crashes were very big but the second one was particularly hard because it was very fast. The first crash the temperature was quite a lot different from the morning and I just got caught out and it was my own mistake.
In the second crash some people felt there was something on the track but I don't think that was the case to be honest. I made a mistake in the braking and rather than going straight the front brake level locked into my hand. But this was a really big crash and I'm proud that I got back to the garage and went back out to try and go faster.
It seems in the warmer conditions it is quite difficult but I am not the only one feeling this. I'm looking forward to the race and we will make some changes with the bike to try and improve the front feeling in the hot conditions.
It seems everybody is struggling and it is not like me to have two crashes in one day. I'm a bit battered and bruised but it won't stop me from giving it 100% in tomorrow's race."
Bradley Smith (12th, Time - 1'40.356): "It was a great job to get into QP2 again today because I really had to fight to make that happen. My race pace is quite good and I am confident but it is going to be a very long and difficult race in the heat. I need to be confident when the tyres drop because it looks like the grip drops down a lot after only three laps and tyre management will be vital.
I have made slow progress again all weekend and once again I am working on the same things I've been trying so far since I first rode the YZR-M1 machine.
It is my riding style and how I am riding the bike where I need to work on but tomorrow is another learning day. I need to get a good start and see if I can follow some of those in the top 10 to get as much as experience as I can."