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Sepang MotoGP Test: Cal Crutchlow encouraged by GP14 progress

'The limit seems to be a lot more than on the GP13, which is good, and this bike seems to be improving all the time' - Cal Crutchlow
New Ducati signing Cal Crutchlow wasn't able to match the pace of team-mate Andrea Dovizioso at Sepang but the British star was encouraged by his progress on the Desmosedici as the test reached a conclusion.

Crutchlow now has more confidence to push harder on the GP14 compared to last year's bike and feels the new model is 'improving all the time'.

His lap time of 2m 01.057s put him in 12th place on Thursday and was some way off the 2m 00.370s lap set by Dovizioso, who ended the test in seventh place.

But Crutchlow was upbeat nonetheless, saying: "I know the position doesn't look too good but I have to say that I'm pleased. I'm a long way from Dovi but overall we're quite consistent and faster than yesterday.

"I just did my lap time at the wrong time of the day, when it was 15 degrees hotter. If I'd done that lap in the morning then I would've been there or thereabouts where Andrea was.

“I'm not overly concerned about the lap time because I'm normally a good one-lap rider, so there's no concern there.

“We seem to have found a few more things with the bike and it seems as though you're able to take a few more risks – not risks as such, I mean that you're able to push the bike a little bit more," he added.

“I haven't ridden the GP13 much but I've put it on the floor twice, once at one test and once now. It has so much less brake pressure and lean angle than what you can get on this bike [GP14] now.

“We still have a lot of issues that we want to improve, like the grip, the wheelieing; we have a lot of vibration," Crutchlow added.

"But we can't solve the issues here, we need time and the guys need to go back to Bologna to see where we go from here.

“Overall, on reflection, I'm happy. The lap times I'm doing here today aren't far off what I was doing last year on a different bike."

Crutchlow dismissed any suggestion that Aleix Espargaro's impressive times on the Open class FTR-M1 this week would influence Ducati's thinking over a potential switch to the category.

“The bike he's got there [FTR-M1] is my bike from last year with more fuel and a soft tyre. All credit to Aleix, he's riding well, but that makes no difference to our decision if we actually decide to go to the Open class," he said.

“Aleix hasn't gained a second because he's in the Open class. If you put him on the bike Pol's [Espargaro] on [Monster Yamaha Tech 3] he'd be just as fast.

“There are things we need to look at outside of this test and we'll continue to look at those things and follow Gigi's [Dall'Igna] decision.

“It's not my decision to take but I'll follow whatever decision they take because I believe that will be the best decision," he added.

“I'm confident Ducati can do a great job and continue to improve."

Ducati Test Team rider Michele Pirro finished day three with a fastest lap of 2m 01.782s after 57 laps.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Crutchlow, Sepang MotoGP test, 4-6 February 2014
Crutchlow, Australian MotoGP 2016
Dovizioso, Australian MotoGP 2016
Rossi, Aleix Espargaro, Dovizioso Australian MotoGP 2016
Dovizioso, Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Rossi, Dovizioso, Espargaro Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Rossi, Crutchlow, Vinales, Australian MotoGP 2016
Maverick Vinales, Dovizioso Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Maverick Vinales, Aleix Espargaro, Dovizioso, Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Crutchlow, Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Marquez, Crutchlow Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Dovizioso, Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Crutchlow, Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Pol Espargaro, Crutchlow Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Crutchlow pretending to throw Rossi’s helmet to the crowd, Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Rossi, Crutchlow, Maverick Vinales, Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Rossi, Crutchlow, Australian MotoGP Race 2016
Rossi, Crutchlow, Australian MotoGP Race 2016

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February 07, 2014 5:34 AM

Not too thrilled with Cal on the Duke, wasn't a big fan of the factory signing him in the first place and he's way off the pace down in 12th after 3 full days testing. Rule number 1 is beat your teammate, and Dovi spanked him while even Iannone on the satellite Ducati is faster than him. Cal's strength is battling out there and he can have a good go when the bike is set up for him, the Tech 3 team puts out a strong bike that has been well developed already and alot of riders have had success with it. But I don't think Cal has the smarts to lead development or be a full factory rider for Ducati, its a complex project and a finicky bike to perfect.Dovi should lead the development and is I believe the clear #1 rider in the team. I also don't like that Cal didn't win a BSB or WSBK championship first (best overall 5th in the standings) before stepping up into MotoGP on a pretty competitive bike. I think he will be off the pace all year and get very frustrated but give 110%

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