Cal Crutchlow has admitted he underestimated the extent of his transition from Superbikes to MotoGP racing, but says he is enjoying his first season in the premier motorcycling category with Tech 3 Yamaha.
The Briton made his much anticipated MotoGP debut at Losail earlier this year having impressed the Yamaha factory with his performances in the World Supersport and World Superbike Championships prior to that.
Crutchlow has since gone on to show several notable flashes of speed, coming close to a top six finish at Jerez and out-qualifying Valentino Rossi and Ben Spies at the most recent French Grand Prix. His best finish is an eighth at Jerez and Estoril.
However, while Crutchlow says he has exceeded his own expectations, he concedes he is still getting acquainted with the faster machinery.
“People don't understand the jump from World Superbikes to MotoGP,” he told Crash.net
in an exclusive interview. “James [Toseland] tried to explain to me the difference and I said 'I'll get used to it, don't worry about it', but now I'm trying to say it to others. You cannot explain how big a jump it is - these boys are the fastest in the world!
“Even now, I'm not comfortable at all with the bike, but it'll come at some point. There has really only been one guy to come from Superbikes and do so well, and that's Ben Spies. All credit to him, there aren't many people who could have done that at all.
“I think we've made the jump, though, and things have been going well. We've had some good top eights, beaten some of the factory riders as well, and at the weekend it looked like we were going to get stuck in with the factory riders again. We will just have to keep trying our hardest.”
Indeed, Crutchlow says learning the circuits is proving the biggest challenge, insisting that by the time he has gotten to grips with the layouts, the grand prix weekend is coming to an end. It is a fact he says explains his run to fourth fastest during the post-Portuguese Grand Prix test at Estoril.
“The worst thing is, you go to the circuit and you don't know it, so you spend the first day of the weekend learning the circuit. The second session you find your settings, but then we've had wet sessions too, so it has been really difficult.