Cal Crutchlow believes Sunday's MotoGP race at Valencia will be difficult as he continued to encounter issues with Bridgestone's front tyre allocation through free practice and qualifying.
Unable to bridge the top three, Crutchlow qualified fifth – the second of an incredibly tight quintet that includes Aleix Espargaro, Bradley Smith, Andrea Iannone and Pol Espargaro – despite making a mistake at turn two on his fastest lap.
Still, the higher afternoon temperatures that riders will more than likely face in race trim could work to his detriment as the current Honda set-up wears front rubber out quicker than the Yamahas around him.
“I was happy enough but I made too many mistakes on my lap,” said the 30-year old. “I didn't want to push on that lap, I wanted to push on the next lap but I had a good gauge as I had Marc not so far in front of me. It wasn't his best lap of the session, and I lost four tenths in turn two by going completely out of the track and back in so that would have put me a place higher up, but maybe not a row.
“We still have the issue with the front tyre, it's too soft. It's too soft for me and Marc, also Dovi, I think and a few of the guys – more the bigger guys and the guys who brake hard into corners. Lorenzo and the Suzuki of Viñales aren't struggling so much whereas Aleix is.
“It seems the bigger guys are overloading the tyre trying to brake with some angle. It seems a little better today but not what we need, we need to be stronger. It's going to be a long 30 laps tomorrow sliding around from lap five or six but we'll see.
“It was a little more slippy today. It's amazing what times you can do with used tyres in the morning, even with the softer front tyre like the 35, the asymmetric, you don't really think you can do the lap times but it comes quite easily but in the afternoon it's a lot more difficult. When you're pushing it's greasy.”
Crutchlow stated he experiences a drop with the Bridgestone rubber after two laps with the lap time notably slowing after five.
After discussing the tyre issue with race direction he revealed the request to introduce the medium front was turned down as there weren't enough tyres for all of the riders, something with which he disagreed.
“We discussed the tyre issue at the safety commission and Bridgestone always try and do their best for us as riders. If we have a request they always try and help us out as much as possible but unfortunately they didn't have enough tyres to make available for all of us. It's not fair to give some of us the tyre and others not. That's the situation, the allocation is the allocation and we have to try and change the bike a bit to compensate but it's difficult.
“There's a big drop after two laps, so we've got 28 left! This is Valencia. The head in the left hand side of the tyre is a lot, it seems that you can go fast and then it drops but then you can also stay the same. I expect the lap time to drop after five laps or so and then stay the same for the next twenty, I hope!”