The final day of 2013 MotoGP pre-season testing ended with a twist when Cal Crutchlow put his satellite Tech 3 Yamaha ahead of the factory favourites at Jerez.
Rain interrupted all three days in Spain, with rain on the final morning making Valentino Rossi's dry Sunday lap time look invincible.
Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa
promptly packed up and left, but weather conditions improved in the afternoon, with slicks tyres possible for the final few hours - when Crutchlow delivered a speedy 1m 39.511.
That pipped Rossi's day two best by 0.014s and put Crutchlow 0.224s clear at the top of the final Monday timesheets, with Rossi again second for the Factory Yamaha team.
“We did some decent lap times and in the end we ran quite consistently, I was pleased,” said Crutchlow. “I feel good. It's disappointing to manage no more than 70 dry laps over three days, but to be at this pace is good and I think everybody is in a similar boat.
“I think it is very difficult to beat the Hondas of Dani [Pedrosa] and Marc [Márquez] at the moment. I think their package is stronger. We know Dani is obviously very confident because he went home today - so he is happy with the bike! We are still working very hard with the Yamaha, but it's going to be a big battle in Qatar.”
Looking towards the first race, Crutchlow added: “It has been a positive pre-season and I think I have shown I have made another big improvement for this year. This result gives me a lot of confidence going to Qatar but my goal will be to finish in the top six and get some early momentum like I did last season. It is going to be a very exciting season.”
Crutchlow joins Pedrosa (Sepang I) and Factory Yamaha's reigning champion Jorge Lorenzo
(Sepang II) in setting the fastest overall lap in an official 2013 test, while the end-of-day honours have been divided: Pedrosa (5 days), Lorenzo (2), Valentino Rossi
(1) and Crutchlow (1).
Lorenzo was fourth on Monday, and third overall, as both he and Rossi tried a new chassis, but it was his race simulation
that caught the most attention.