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MotoGP Aragon: Crutchlow: We've stepped up and I've still got speed

"We needed a bit of a boost but to be the fifth fastest guy is a bonus. It shows that we've stepped up and that I've still got my speed" - Cal Crutchlow.
Cal Crutchlow was clearly relieved to have set the fifth fastest time in MotoGP qualifying at Aragon having endured a miserable season riding for Ducati.

Despite not having the new GP14.2 available to team-mate Andrea Dovizioso and Pramac's Andrea Iannone, Crutchlow qualified less than a tenth of a second slower than the fastest Ducati of Iannone.

When asked how important his performance was in terms morale, Crutchlow said:

"We needed a bit of a boost but to be the fifth fastest guy is a bonus. It shows that we've stepped up and that I've still got my speed. I didn't follow anybody which is good and I think that the bike has improved a lot and I think that we got the best out of our package today."

The result equals Crutchlow's best qualifying performance of the season and afterwards he assessed his performance:

"I'm very pleased to be on the second row and it's my best qualifying session of the year and my best since Mugello where I was sixth. I'm really pleased and I think that we deserved it. The team and myself deserved it because it wasn't for the lack of trying all year and this is what I've struggled with all year, sheer outright pace over one lap, and we managed to do it.

"It was a strange feeling because I actually made a lot of mistakes in the lap. We've struggled in Sector 1 all weekend and I've been so far off Dovi, Iannone and the other Factory riders. When I did my first lap I saw that it said '0.0s' on the dash so I knew that I hadn't improved on before and on my fast lap it said -0.6s so I thought that the dash was broken! I tried to read it three times and made three mistakes on the lap.

"When it showed that I was up again at the next sector I knew that I was on a good lap. It was a strange feeling because I was useless in that sector all weekend and then we took a big chunk of time off it. I know that it's only over one lap but I've learned from that experience how to ride the first sector a lot better.

"We're also losing in the last sector because we're losing about 0.25s on the top speed but it's better than yesterday. I'm happy enough but our race pace needs to improve by four or five tenths to be competitive with the other Ducati guys but that can all come in Sector 1 because that's where we've lost most of the time this weekend."

Having struggled for pace in the first sector all weekend Crutchlow admitted that using the softer tyre on his fastest lap played a role in allowing him to unlock time in the opening sector however he felt that a change of riding style played a bigger role. Instead of having to take an early apex for corners he was able to turn the bike in later and could carry much more corner speed as a result:

"I think that it was to do with the soft tyre because the right hand side is softer so we were able to gain a bit of time there. I gained time in the two right hand corners but I also gained under braking into turn one and turn four. It seems that on the other laps I had to scrub the speed off into turn one by aiming for the apex instead of going in straighter and then being able to turn in later. If we can keep the bike straighter and more on the outside for every lap and tip in later it seems to be working better."

Tagged as: Ducati , Cal Crutchlow

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