Home hero Cal Crutchlow admitted the opening day at Silverstone did not herald the result he had been hoping for as the Tech 3 Yamaha rider finished sixth fastest in free practice.

Crutchlow, who has been plagued by injury on his last two appearances at the British MotoGP, made a promising start in FP1 as he clinched third on the satellite YZR-M1 behind Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez and Factory Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo.

However, although he slashed his best lap time by 1.5 seconds in the afternoon session, the Coventry rider slipped to sixth place behind Valentino Rossi, but less than 0.1 seconds down on Gresini Honda's Alvaro Bautista in fourth position.

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Crutchlow, bidding to become the first British rider to finish on the British MotoGP rostrum since 2000, is targeting improvements in two sectors of the Silverstone circuit tomorrow plus extra front-end grip.

"Firstly it was fantastic to see such a big crowd here at Silverstone today. The support from the British fans always gives you a boost and it was a special feeling to see so many here on the first day," he said.

"It hasn't been an easy start to my home race but I am sure we can make some big improvements. This morning wasn't too bad and I was satisfied to be in the top three but it was a bit more a struggle in FP2."

Unlike last weekend at Brno, when both his bikes had the new fuel tank, Crutchlow began his home British MotoGP weekend with one bike using the new tank and one with the old.

"I tried both, with a completely full fuel tank, this morning. And this afternoon I tried both completely empty. That's probably one of the reasons why we are in the position [sixth] we are in, because we've been messing around a lot. Tonight we'll make a decision about which to go and stick with it for the rest of the weekend.

"I believe the new tank is a lot better, I really do, but we just haven't found the right setting at the minute. And what makes it even worse it looks like we're going faster on the older one! That could be a coincidence - that I put a new tyre in at that point, that I'd done more laps... I'm not overly concerned with that.

"I need to improve in two sectors to be faster and more competitive and one area we need to work on is front-end grip because I had too much wheelie," he added. "We will have a good look at the data tonight to make sure I'm stronger tomorrow."