Cal Crutchlow says he was pleased to find himself towards the sharp end of the timesheets on the second day of MotoGP pre-season testing at Jerez as he helped Yamaha lock-out the top three.
The Tech 3 Yamaha rider took advantage of the better conditions to put in 44 laps over the course of the day, his best time of 1min 39.574secs less than a tenth slower than factory Yamaha riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo.
Pleased to be 'in the mix' with the factory bikes again, Crutchlow was also encouraged by his consistency on the bike, which he says bodes well for upcoming season opener.
“I am very happy with how today went and it was good to get in some laps in the dry. We had a few things to try with the bike and the weather meant we could assess what was positive and negative. It wasn't easy at the start because the track was really dirty and then later on it got quite cold and slippery, but we got some important work completed on the set-up.
“My Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team did a great job and I am sure with some small adjustments tomorrow we can be faster. The pleasing aspect of today was I was very consistent and that makes me confident for when we come back for the race here. The fact that the top three was filled by Yamaha also bodes well for the race in a few weeks. I am right in the mix with the factory bikes again and this is very satisfying for me."
Team-mate Bradley Smith, meanwhile, continued his transition to MotoGP machinery, even getting the chance to follow Rossi on the sister M1 in an effort to learn from his riding style. Emerging 12th fastest, he was just 0.7secs adrift of the top six.
“Today was positive because I really need dry track time and also to get some data of riding the bike on a track other than Sepang. I felt much happier than in Malaysia because it is a track I definitely like and we can see from the top three that it suits the Yamaha very well too.
“Immediately from the first exit I felt comfortable and knew my reference points quicker. It was easier for me to pick up the pace and we made some really good improvements and progress during the first four exits. We tried some set-up modifications to get an idea about my feedback and at that point we realized that we were going in the wrong direction and just as we came back to what I liked it started raining and that was a shame.
“I still need to improve a lot but the gap to the first six is not as big as Sepang and that is a positive. I followed Valentino for a short time today and it was a very interesting experience. I could pick up some things about riding technique and I could understand that I need to be a little smoother."