Cal Crutchlow has said his Saturday afternoon showing at Phillip Island was “a disaster” after qualifying fifth for the Australian MotoGP.
The Englishman was voicing his frustration at two mistakes that cost him in the region of four tenths of a second, a margin that had he not lost, would have placed him just behind Marc Marquez.
The result still represents Crutchlow's best qualifying showing since the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in August, when he started from fourth. This positive, however, was also tempered by the lack of rear grip, that is troubling the majority of the field.
“Today was a disaster for me,” said the 29-year old. “We should have been on the front row and we weren't. I made two mistakes on my lap, lost four tenths of even an average lap around here, pushing quite hard to be on the front row, and we never made it. So I'm disappointed for that reason.
“Overall, actually, tomorrow, we need to improve the pace. We need to look at creating some rear grip, because at the moment, we have none at all. That's the area where we're getting hammered by even Marc, and we can't really understand too much why, because he's on a Honda as well.
“But at the moment, we need to improve that and see where we are for tomorrow's race, but overall we are not in a bad position, but I know what it's like to have ridden good bikes around here, and at the moment, bikes that grip, and at the moment, we can't find any. Let's see for tomorrow.”
Pointing in particular towards the corners that have long, swooping exits as his weak areas while stating he feels that he will not race the asymmetric front tyre, Crutchlow acknowledged the bike's grip levels must improve if they want to compete with the Yamahas.
“The electronics on the Honda are all in your right wrist, really. So apart from riding around with the rear brake on for 90% of the lap time to get some grip, there's nothing else we can do at the moment. Short shifting, stand the bike up, it's not working very well at all.
“I'm fast in the corners I knew I would be fast in, and slow on the exits, and that's the problem. And that's where the Yamaha will be able to pick us off, or even the Ducati. So we need to make sure we get a good start, and get away with the other guys, and try and battle with them for as long as possible.”
Asked what his aim was for Sunday's race, Crutchlow joked, “Podium! Podium or bust! That's what I have to aim for. At the moment, we could be tenth, because we have no rear grip, but if we have rear grip, we can easily be really really strong. At the moment, I'm a little bit uncertain why Marc has so much rear grip compared to us.”