24 November 2014
Crutchlow: MotoGP Honda is what I expected
"It's confidence, a lot of it is how much you can push" - Cal Crutchlow.
Cal Crutchlow was satisfied with his first impressions of his new 'Factory' Honda RC213V, claiming it presented no big surprises at the final official MotoGP test of 2014.
Riding for the newly CWM backed LCR team, Crutchlow spent the three-day test playing around with a host of settings in a bid to get up to speed at a test in which the Repsol Hondas of Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa placed first and fourth overall.
In particular the 29-year-old was impressed with the RCV's braking and turning capabilities, although he had anticipated as much from riding with Stefan Bradl and Pedrosa throughout the year.
“It was what I expected from watching on TV and from riding with Dani or Stefan,” said the former Factory Ducati rider. “There are definitely some strong points with the bike. I think it was what I did expect. Of course some areas it's better, some areas you don't know until you ride it. I've only had a day on the bike. It's difficult to understand immediately and improve when you have to think about so many things.
“[I was pleased with] how well it stopped and turned at less risk. I could brake with the bike turning quite strong, but as we said we were trying so many things over the day it's impossible to go fast. I was trying things in one corner and then not scrapping the rest of the lap but not pushing. We needed to test in that area.”
Crutchlow's move to the LCR outfit means he is now working alongside crew chief Christophe Bourguignon, ending his three-year working relationship with Italian Daniele Romagnoli.
Although still acclimatising to his new surroundings, Crutchlow believes the first impressions are positive.
“Obviously there is still a very different feeling but he's better and knows the bike inside out,” he said. “He knows what the Japanese engineers want, the information they need and how to improve things. If we're struggling in this area he looks at the data and sorts it out straight away.”
Competing aboard his third different machine in as many seasons, Crutchlow pinpointed similar areas for RCV improvement to those listed by the Repsol Honda riders. Crutchlow added, however, that comparing settings is difficult considering Marquez's unique riding style and the physical size difference to Pedrosa.
“Looking at my comments - I've been with two different manufacturers in the last two years. They [Honda] understand where they need to improve. Honda has very clever people. They understand what Marc and Dani say. What I said immediately was very similar to what they were saying. We're just struggling a bit with the rear grip and side grip. Again, they know what they're doing – they don't need me to tell them.
“It's challenging to ride the bike because looking at how Marc rides - it's completely different to Dani. He rides completely different to me [so it's] difficult to understand which is the best way to go.
“Sometimes when you look at Dani's data, [he] accelerates really strong. Then you think, 'I need more torque' but that's often not the case. You have to remember Dani's 20 kilos lighter. Also where he brakes, top speed, you have to remember he's 20 kilos less.
"It's difficult with Dani and Marc rides quite different - he's quite an animal on the bike. It's confidence - a lot of it is how much you can push.”
Crutchlow successfully underwent surgery on his left shoulder on the Friday after the test to remove a plate that had been inserted in 2011. He is now recovering at home on the Isle of Man.
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