Ducati's Cal Crutchlow was coy when quizzed on speculation the manufacturer was set to enter the MotoGP 'Open' class but admitted he could see 'positives' in making the change.
Crutchlow was speaking on the first day of the official Sepang MotoGP test, where he tested both the GP13 and GP14 versions of the Desmosedici.
The British star jokingly dodged a question from reporters over the potential for a switch to the 'Open' rules this season, saying: “I know nothing about it. Is there an Open class?”
However, he then added: “Gigi [Dall'Igna] will take control of the situation and as a rider you follow the leader. As far as I'm aware Gigi has been making good decisions so far and he's listening a lot to what we say.
“There are positives to both but for me as a rider, I want to compete in the same as everyone else, so I want everyone to be on the same rules. But I also want to progress the Ducati and I think the development is a very good idea if we go that route.”
Crutchlow only completed 38 laps in total as he posted the 14th fastest time of the day in 2m 02.860s, finishing behind the Pramac Ducati of Andrea Iannone, team-mate Andrea Dovizioso
and test rider Michele Pirro.
He suffered a minor spill on the GP13 after an alteration to the gear-change settings but was quickly back on his feet.
“We spent the morning with the GP13 and then the afternoon with the GP14. In this moment I don't see a massive difference, but there are positives with both,” Crutchlow said.
“I think you need to take one piece off one bike and a piece of another and try and build a bit of a bike with that, but it's clear that I'm very rusty from the winter. I did one day on a motorcycle in the winter so going out on track I was a little dizzy.
“I actually went faster with the old bike than with the new bike, but as I said today was about riding the bike again and trying to get used to riding a motorcycle after so many months riding a bicycle,” he added.
“We were trying some electronics strategies that Gigi wanted to try but we didn't have to go fast for this. Tomorrow's a different day and we have a lot more that we want to try.”
Crutchlow is seeking a big improvement in his lap time and will enter the second day of the test with a completely different set-up as he continues to adapt to the bike.
“I want a big jump lap time-wise of course, but how it will come I don't really know. I think characteristically for the Ducati this is the worst circuit, so to come here to try things is crucial and also to give Gigi the information,” he said.
“It's always good for me to be able to compare with what I've had before. This track feels worse for every bike really [because of lack of grip]. If you can solve some problems here then it normally works better at every other circuit.
“We have to keep working and we will start with a completely different set-up on the bike tomorrow.”
Drawing comparisons between the GP13 and GP14, Crutchlow said the newer version represents a significant improvement in terms of corner entry and a reduction in the bike's tendency to wheelie.
“The new bike is cosmetically different but there is not a lot of difference between them. We expected some small changes, which I think we have; in some areas it's a little bit better and in some areas it's worse, but we had some teething problems with the bike today,” he said.
“I think the GP13 is stopping a little bit better than the GP14, but the '14' bike seems to turn in a little better. In Valencia I said the turning in and the wheelies with the bike was the worst thing, but it seems that the GP14 is a lot better for that.
“But I only managed three laps in a row and we were playing with a strategy that Gigi was trying to bet some information from, so you can't take too much from it. The GP13 still feels the same as in Valencia but more exaggerated here because the grip is so low.
“We had to wait a little bit to check some things so we only did about 40 laps or something and 40 laps is nothing.”