Cal Crutchlow made a blistering start to his 2013 MotoGP World Championship campaign as the British star took second place during FP1 in Qatar on his satellite Tech 3 Yamaha.
Crutchlow, who bagged his maiden premier class podiums during a breakthrough season in 2012, continued on the crest of a wave at the Losail International Circuit after setting last month's quickest time at the final pre-season test at Jerez in Spain.
The 27-year-old split factory Yamaha riders Jorge Lorenzo
and Valentino Rossi, lapping in 1m 56.743s to complete the opening session just 0.058s behind the reigning world champion.
Although warm and dry, track conditions were less than ideal with far from favourable grip levels - a fact reflected when the times on the opening night are compared to Casey Stoner's fastest race lap in 2012 of 1m 55.541s.
Although pleased with his early pace, Crutchlow has vowed not to 'read too much into it'.
“It was a very good first session on a personal level with me finishing second and also for Yamaha with a clean sweep of the top three.
“Second place is great but I am not reading too much into it,” said Crutchlow.
“As the track conditions improve some of the rest will get faster and it is still going to be very tough to be on the podium.
“I am looking forward to the race and being so competitive from the start certainly gives my confidence another lift and helps me carry on the momentum gained in testing.”
Crutchlow is planning changes as practice continues tomorrow to reduce the amount of weight transfer on his M1 under braking and acceleration.
“As is always the case on the first night in Qatar the track was quite dirty, particularly off the racing line,” he said.
“Even on the racing line it was quite slippery but I am happy to be right in the mix from the start.
“We need to make some changes to the bike for tomorrow because I felt we had too much weight transfer on braking and acceleration but I've got to be happy to finish in second and ending up in between Jorge and Valentino.”