Cal Crutchlow says the chance to race with, and beat, Valentino Rossi during the Aragon Grand Prix has given him increased confidence heading into the final four rounds of his rookie MotoGP World Championship season.
The Briton scored one of his best results of the season with a run to ninth at Motorland Aragon, though it was his tussle with Rossi, one that he would eventually win, that caught the eye.
Indeed, Crutchlow says he learnt a lot from the exchange, something he is keen to build on at Motegi, the last 'new' circuit for him before he returns to Phillip Island, Sepang and Valencia.
“I am really looking forward to going to Japan this weekend and I feel full of confidence after the good result at the Motorland Aragon,” Crutchlow said. “Fighting for almost the whole race with a rider of the calibre of Valentino Rossi was really good for my experience, and I learnt a lot that will help me for the future. Obviously the Twin Ring Motegi is another new track for me, but I have found my way round other new tracks pretty quickly to be competitive, so hopefully it will be the same in Japan.
“The good thing is that after this weekend I know Phillip Island, Sepang and Valencia, so hopefully I can end the season with some strong races inside the top 10. It is an honour for me to represent Yamaha in the Japanese Grand Prix, and after a difficult period following the earthquake, I am looking forward to being able to show my support to the Japanese people and everyone connected to Yamaha this weekend.”
Tech 3 Yamaha team-mate Colin Edwards, meanwhile, is chasing better fortunes at Motegi after two difficult rounds in Italy and Spain.
“The last couple of races haven't gone according to plan, so there's no better place to try and put things right than in Yamaha's home Grand Prix. I had my best result of the season at the Twin Ring Motegi last year, so I go there with a lot of confidence that I can fight for another top six. It is not going to be an easy task when you look at the level of competition, but we know the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team package is better than last year, so hopefully we'll be in the mix for a good result.
“Seventh in the Championship is not out of reach and there are four races to go, so we still have a lot to fight for. The Japanese Grand Prix is always a massive event for Yamaha and this year is no exception. It has been a difficult time for the Japanese people, so to go there and demonstrate our support for them is really important.
“Hopefully we can bring some joy to them by putting on a good show, particularly for Yamaha and all its fans.”