If the results of pre-season testing are anything to go by, Cal Crutchlow will be a leading contender for top satellite honours during the 2012 MotoGP season.
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider, twelfth overall after an injury-interrupted rookie campaign, will go into the first 1000cc MotoGP Championship having been ranked 7th, 5th and 5th in the official pre-season tests.
Sunday's ranking at the final Jerez test also made Crutchlow the top satellite rider. The Englishman's best lap was 0.805sec behind Honda's Casey Stoner, but less than 0.1sec from Factory Yamaha rider Ben Spies.
"I'm really happy to finish this test in the top five with a very fast pace because we worked through a lot," said Crutchlow. "Today I only used three sets of tyres in 83 laps, yet I was fast and consistent all day, so it shows we are getting good endurance from the soft and the hard options.
"The different electronic set-up also helped in acceleration, so it was a very positive and productive day after the rain washed out yesterday. The good thing is we know the bike works very well on a completely different track.
"The tests in Sepang were crucial but we needed to come to a completely different circuit like Jerez to understand if the bike has a goo d base level for a tighter and shorter track."
Crutchlow also echoed the positive comments made by all Yamaha riders. "Yamaha has done a great job because the YZR-M1 works very well," he said.
"Finishing behind Stoner, Lorenzo, Pedrosa and Spies is obviously good for my confidence and now I'm looking forward to going to Qatar and racing. I feel ready and much better prepared than last year."
Crutchlow's new team-mate Andrea Dovizioso was seventh fastest, 0.265sec from the former World Supersport champion. Only one Tech 3 M1 seat is available for 2013, with the team's Moto2 star Bradley Smith already signed up for MotoGP next year.