A day after Marc Marquez stated he is turning his attention to preparing the Honda RC213V for 2016, Cal Crutchlow has said he is focusing on finding increased rear grip for his second season with the factory.
Crutchlow set the fifth fastest time on the first day of free practice at Phillip Island but maintained that excessive spinning was still an issue when comparing the Honda to the performance of Ducati and Yamaha.
“As I've said before, Honda look at me as a source of good information as well, because the guys they've got have not ridden any other manufacturer, and they're used to the bike they've got now,” said Crutchlow.
“They obviously can compare to last year's bike or the year before, but I can tell them where the Ducati is strong and where the Yamaha is strong, its weak points. You always want to know what the competition is doing as well, I think we have been able to give them quite a lot of information.
“They need to improve rear grip, as Honda, we need to improve rear grip. Once we get that, we'll have the acceleration we need as well, because at the moment, we've got way too much acceleration and we haven't got enough grip. A smooth bike around most of these circuits on our calendar is the key, not a bike that is lighting up the rear tire a lot and destroying the rear tire, and also locking into the corner a lot.
“We've seen over the years how smooth Lorenzo is on that bike, and at the moment I think the other guys in Yamaha, they don't ride in the same way as him necessarily, but they're able to be faster than him on some days. Valentino has made a great season, and I think the other manufacturers are all looking at that, at Jorge and Vale, that they have two very different riding styles, then anybody can jump on that bike and be fast. That's no disrespect to them in any way, shape or form, but nobody seems to be able to jump on the Honda and be fast. We have to develop that.”
Asked whether a more all-rounded machine that was more accessible was the chief focus for 2016, Crutchlow said, “The way that I look at it, if you go and pick up four guys out of Moto2, and put four on the Hondas and four on the Yamahas, you're going to see at the moment, top four Yamahas and the next four would be Hondas, because it's so difficult to get your head around riding, and ride.
“The two guys who have been phenomenal on this bike are Marc and Casey [Stoner], that are two sort of freaks at riding, and they are able to manage it. And Dani, now and again. But we'll see. We have to continue, and next year, I think it will be quite the weapon.”
Speaking of the first day at Phillip Island, when Crutchlow was sixth in the morning and a highly promising fifth in the afternoon he explained he expected the layout to suit the machine more than one which contains several slow, tight corners.
“I expected the Hondas to do quite well around the circuit, it's not really a power circuit. If our bike keeps rolling around fast corners, it's not too bad. It's all this hard acceleration that our bike just lights up the rear tyre. So at turn six, or the last two corners, we're really struggling compared to the Yamahas and Ducatis.
“But it's just a little easier at this circuit, I think that compared to others, I heard some guys were complaining about rear grip, if they could be riding the Honda this year, they would really know what no rear grip is. Honestly, I'm really pleased with the way Honda are working, I'm pleased with the way our team is working.
“We're giving them the information, and working on next year a lot as well. This is a season where Marc can't win the title now, Dani has been on a great run of form lately as well, and I seem to be riding not too bad at the moment, so at least we can give them a lot of information for next year.”