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Crutchlow leaves day one misery behind

14 September 2013

Cal Crutchlow powered through to claim a second row start for tomorrow's San Marino MotoGP after a lacklustre display on Friday.

The Tech 3 Yamaha rider endured a frustrating day during free practice yesterday, with the British rider 'struggling everywhere' as he battled with the set-up of his YZR-M1.

Crutchlow, battered and bruised following three spills during practice at Silverstone, found himself in an unusual tenth position at the end of day one, dropping into Q1 for the first time since the new format was introduced this year.

The Englishman admitted it was "embarrassing" to have been in Q1, but breezed through to Q2 with a best lap of 1m 34.694 seconds and boosted his performance this afternoon to finish in fifth position at the Marco Simoncelli circuit, knocking another 0.6s off his quickest time to maintain his superb record of not finishing outside the top five in 2013 qualifying.

Crutchlow, who will become a factory Ducati rider at the end of the season, said afterwards he was 'really pleased' with his final grid position.

"It has not been an easy weekend at all and having to go into QP1 for the first time this season was proof of that. So considering how difficult it has been I am really pleased to be starting on the second row of the grid,” he said.

"This afternoon was much better and as I always do, I managed to pull something out of the bag in qualifying. I am always strong in this situation but I really had to be today to get myself out of trouble.

"I pulled my finger out! I still didn't feel confident and we're still half a second off the other Yamaha's and some of it is the bike but the rest of it is me," added Crutchlow, who admitted he has lost confidence with the satellite M1.

"I'm still not confident on the bike and I lose everything in T3 which is funny because all year in any practice and qualifying session I've always been the fastest Yamaha in fast corners but now I'm the slowest so I'm obviously riding around like a baby!

"We still need to find something else for the race because the gap to the front is pretty big. I am definitely trying my hardest but I have lost some confidence on the bike since the middle of the season and now I have to improve to go faster.

"One area I definitely need to look at is T3 because I am not fast enough in that sector. I'll try and get a good start and go with the leading group and I will be doing my best to deliver a positive result."

Crutchlow's fastest lap was 1.099s behind Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez, who blitzed the pole record at Misano to head the times by more than half-a-second from Jorge Lorenzo.

He managed to hold CRT star Aleix Espargaro at bay by 0.014s to claim fifth place, with Espargaro an excellent sixth.

Even though Crutchlow out qualified Bradl and Bautista he showed little confidence in the prospect of beating either tomorrow and felt that finishing in the top eight was a more realistic goal.

"I'd be happy with top eight but I'll see after morning warm-up where I want to try something," said Crutchlow. "The bike is so slow that to pass anybody will be very difficult so I'll need to make a good start and try and hold my position.

"But I'll try and go with the guys that are faster than me -Stefan Bradl and Alvaro Bautsita - and if I can go with them I'd be happy enough. For sure I'm not aiming to beat Marquez, Lorenzo and Valentino but I've a lot to find in T3."


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