10 April 2015
MotoGP Austin: Crutchlow: Too soon to make chassis comparisons
Cal Crutchlow says it is difficult to weigh up the pros and cons of the new chassis upgrade from HRC in Austin after dry track time in FP2 was limited to eight laps
LCR Honda's Cal Crutchlow impressed in FP2 as the British rider finished second fastest in Austin behind Marc Marquez using the new chassis upgrade provided by HRC.
HRC vice president Shuhei Nakamoto explained that the chassis has a different seat mounting position, which is said to improve the feeling in braking and corner entry.
“The chassis has a different seat mounting position. In Sepang II we found something better in this area so therefore we started to make this chassis for Cal and Scott [Redding],” said Nakamoto.
“Cal is the same [size] as the Factory [riders], but Scott is bigger so he needs another modification. His chassis is a little bit bigger. We need more time. So Cal received here and Scott will receive at Jerez.”
The upgrades have brought Crutchlow's RC213V closer to the specification of the factory Repsol Honda machines but although he ended FP2 second fastest, the satellite Honda rider wasn't reading too much into the times from the second free practice session, which began in the wet before the track rapidly began to dry out at the end.
“When you see my lap times on the new chassis they are not too bad but there's always room for improvement and I need to understand it because I don't have the bike back to back [to compare with the old chassis], so it's really difficult to say where it's better,” said Crutchlow, who lapped in 2m 05.162s.
“I believe it's better because the other guys are using it and I'm pleased with the progress we have made today because the speed was not too bad, but I need to understand it more and ride a race distance on it.
“The factory guys obviously believe it is better and we have got this upgrade for this race, but I knew I was getting it for this race for some time.
“We only got eight laps in the dry today but my style is my style and we improved in some areas and I felt okay, but I don't take too much from today – it was just eight laps in the dry and everyone wanted to secure their place in the top ten.”
Crutchlow, who finished as the leading satellite rider in seventh place in Qatar, said there was a lot of standing water on the track on Friday, which made life especially tricky in FP1 and at the beginning of FP2.
“You have to ride to the track conditions and I believe that if track conditions had been good then everyone would have really slashed the times down. I expect the race, if it is dry, to be late 2m 2s or mid 2m 3s for most of the race,” he said.
“There's quite a lot of standing water on the course but then we had a lot of rain, but it was grippy enough and gave us quite good feedback.
“I'd only done six laps in the rain at Sepang on the other bike so it's difficult to compare but my feeling is not too bad and we need to calm the bike down a little bit.
“We have to work for the rain and for the dry we've got to work because the championship is so close you could be half a second off and be 20th,” he added.
“We saw that in Qatar and I think if it was a normal day here it'd be the same, so it was just who was up to speed at the time and who was able to take the risk and push. I was quite comfortable but there's no doubt we can improve in a lot of areas.”
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