Tech 3 Yamaha rider Cal Crutchlow has achieved his target of staying in touch with the leading factory riders at the second Sepang test.
Crutchlow's fastest lap during the three-day test on Wednesday of 2m 0.907s gave the satellite Yamaha rider fourth position overall on the time sheets, less than 0.1s away from breaking into the top three of Dani Pedrosa, Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Marquez.
On the final day of the shakedown, Crutchlow's 2m 01.094s lap left him in sixth place on the leaderboard as he concentrated on his YZR-M1 when the track dried in the afternoon after rain in the morning session.
“I am leaving this test in a positive frame of mind because I am fourth overall and although I was only sixth quickest today I actually think I could have been fastest,” he said.
“When everybody was pushing hard for a fast lap time at the end of the day I got held up on every lap but I am not worried about that.
“We have worked very hard this week to improve our package and today we gained more valuable information.
“I still lose a bit in the braking area and rolling into the corner. We tried to improve that but made the braking worse,” he added.
“But when we make the braking better we have no grip. So it is finding a compromise.”
Crutchlow leaves Malaysia confident that he will again be in the mix to challenge the factory top guns at the first round of the MotoGP World Championship in Qatar on April 7.
“We tried two different settings on the different bikes and one was better for braking and the other one was better for grip, so we need to find the best of both and put them together,” he said.
“I am not that far off the top three and they are all on factory machinery, so that is encouraging.
“To be fourth overall is very positive and I definitely think we are in the mix.
“My target was to be close to the factory guys and we are not too far away.”
Crutchlow took the chance to try Bridgestone's rain tyres in the morning, completing nine laps.
Cal Crutchlow's Sepang II long run: