Cal Crutchlow made a storming start to this weekend's Jerez MotoGP as the satellite Yamaha rider concluded day one of practice in third position on the combined time sheets.
The British rider was only headed by reigning world champion and Yamaha Factory Racing star Jorge Lorenzo by 0.171s in FP2, finishing ahead of Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa and Valentino Rossi on the second works YZR-M1.
Crutchlow had been fourth fastest in the morning FP1 session but upped his pace in the afternoon, completing a fastest lap in 1m 39.733s to force his way into the reckoning.
The 27-year-old Tech 3 Yamaha rider excels at Jerez, where he battled to fourth place behind Pedrosa in 2012.
Crutchlow also topped the final winter test times at Jerez in late March to underline his pace at the Spanish circuit.
“It was quite a tough day because we made a lot of changes that meant the bike was set-up completely different than the way we had it at the test,” he said.
“We made it a little bit longer and lower to give me a good feeling because while I was able to set the fastest time at the test, the track temperature was much higher today and it meant the bike was not working perfectly with the set-up we ran at the test.
“I was changing bikes during FP2 and doing a lot of laps to try as many things as possible and I am positive for the rest of the weekend.”
Crutchlow is formulating a 'plan of attack' for the remainder of the weekend but is already high on confidence after a strong performance on the opening day.
“We've got a few ideas to improve even further tomorrow and I will sit down with my crew tonight and have a good look at the data to come up with a plan of attack for the rest of the weekend,” he said.
“My Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team is doing a great job again and being competitive and fast today gives us a lot of confidence to take into Saturday and Sunday.”