6 February 2015
Sepang MotoGP Test: Crutchlow: Riding Honda is like a double whammy
LCR Honda's Cal Crutchlow says the combination of a lack of edge grip from the Bridgestone tyres and aggressive RC213V is 'a double whammy'
Cal Crutchlow isn't getting too caught up on lap times after the British rider reflected on his performance at the opening Sepang test, preferring instead to gradually build his momentum ahead of the first race in Qatar in March.
Crutchlow was 11th fastest on the CWM LCR Honda on the third and final day in Malaysia, lapping in 2m 00.536s as he finished 1.669s off Repsol Honda rider Marc Marquez's blistering 1m 58.867s lap.
The Coventry man is striving to adapt his style to the RC213V and says he is trying to learn to ride the bike in a different way to bridge the gap to his fellow Honda riders.
“The 'heatproof' tyre doesn't suit my riding style and going back to how [Jorge] Lorenzo was last year, he struggled to be able to go fast with his style with the Yamaha because he likes to carry the corner speed and the lean angle, so riding the Honda is like a double whammy for me,” said Crutchlow.
“With the 'heatproof' tyre and having to open the throttle later as well I don't take the advantage where I used to, so I have to learn to ride in a different way. The Honda doesn't have good side grip and the tyre doesn't either, so we need to make it in other areas because the other guys are able to.
“As I said before I came to the test it's not about lap times, I want to build up to the season and make sure we are strong throughout the season,” he added.
“Definitely I was trying, but I just can't do that lap time the other guys can do at the minute, but if it came to a race they wouldn't be able to do that lap time at the beginning of a race for a start, so that doesn't mean they would take that 1.6 seconds away from me at the start of a race.
“It just means we'd probably qualify 20th at the minute, but I think we've found some positive things and it was good again on used tyres but we definitely need to improve in some areas and we'll look to do that at the next test.”
The aggressive nature of the RC213V engine and the resultant wheelspin is another issue Crutchlow is aiming to get more comfortable with but he feels that he is heading in the right direction following the completion of the first Sepang test.
“It's a characteristic of the bike [rear wheelspin] and we need to work around that and create the grip as well; the other riders manage to do it so there is no reason why I can't,” he said. “I think that what we are doing is going in the right direction and how I'm riding is going in the right direction as well.
“You have to be a lot more smoother opening the throttle but you have to be more aggressive in the corner and on the brakes – a lot more. [The gearbox and electronics are] good, I'm not having any problems with them at the moment.”
Crutchlow's view on the extra soft tyre option available to the Open class riders remains unchanged and the 29-year-old says he doesn't understand the necessity for the special rubber.
“That was a problem last year [extra soft tyre] and it's going to be a problem this year; I was never a fan of it and I think I raced it once last year and I never even finished the race. I don't understand why people have got it because they have the same horsepower – the new Open Honda is basically the same speed on the straight as ours; the Forward bike is basically my factory bike from a couple of years ago,” said Crutchlow.
“I don't understand why they have got it because there are three or four guys in the top 12 who really shouldn't be there with that soft tyre. These are the rules and this is the way it's going to be; I just need to get back that qualifying lap from a couple of years ago!
“But it's going to be difficult, I don't think you are going to see the same front row all the time. I think you'll see [Andrea Dovizioso] Dovi on the front row a lot more, [Andrea] Iannone on the front row more and [Stefan] Bradl at certain tracks, but we'll see, I'm not too worried at the minute.”
Asked for his view on Marquez's new record 1m 58s Sepang lap, he joked: “It's fast enough alright. But in all honesty I don't read too much into it because I know that they do it coming into the pits, they just take a shortcut! But yeah it's definitely fast.”
Click on relevant pic to enlarge
the conversation - Add your comment
Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.