Cal Crutchlow isn't getting too carried away with his lap time after the LCR Honda rider finished third fastest on day one of the British MotoGP at Silverstone.
Crutchlow, who became the first British rider in 35 years to win a premier class race with victory at Brno in the previous round, lapped in 2m 01.917s as he finished almost half-a-second back on Ducati rider Andrea Iannone.
“It was great to see the time but it's not a fantastic lap time overall. I knew what we could probably do today and it was around that. It was hard work on those two laps, I can tell you that,” he said.
“Don't forget I've rode a Yamaha around here and it's a lot easier than that. At the time I was alone, I felt quite good on the bike and I made a couple of mistakes on the lap. We were trying some things with the bike as well.
“It's Friday afternoon and Sunday's Sunday. A lot can change and I'd say the top 10 tomorrow will be inside the time that I did today so we'll have to find something because it's going to get faster and faster,” Crutchlow added.
“The public always expect, especially after winning last time out, but I've already had a collision with Jack [Miller] on the back straight at about 200mph! The wind was quite bad and I was trying to slipstream each other and he came across a bit, but it was no-one's fault.
“I'll give 100 per-cent wet or dry but it's a difficult track in the wet here. Everyone has this preconceived idea now that I want it to rain but that's not the case. We'll have to take it as it comes and we'll see tomorrow and on Sunday.”
Crutchlow finished FP2 as the top Honda rider but pointed out that he used a harder front tyre than factory riders Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa.
“I used a different front tyre to them. I used the 'K' tyre and they used the softer front tyre. Marc I'm sure would've been faster with the harder one, same as me. With these Michelin fronts you can't brake in the same places as we did last year – you can't take the risks and I think the track is a lot more bumpy this year. Rears are not too bad [but] a lot of movement from them. I think you will also see us going faster over the weekend.
“Because we have no rear grip, we can't get out of the corner and with less acceleration, we're braking later than everyone else to try and get any sort of lap time. We're braking 50 metres later than our competitors.”
Crutchlow said Marc Marquez was the exception to the rule amongst the Honda riders, explaining there was little to be gained from the championship leader's data because he sets such a high standard on corner entry.
“Marc's Marc and we can always look at his data but nobody can ever do what he can; I've never seen a rider that can do what he can do. You can [learn from the data] but to do it is another thing.
“The angle that he brakes at into the corner – we might manage it once over the weekend and he can manage it every single lap. If we try it more than once we will crash. That's why we look at lot more at Dani's data and Jack [Miller] and Tito [Rabat] but comparing to Marc is so difficult because he's so good on corner entry.”
Tyre choice will once again be critical on Sunday and Crutchlow feels the rear will pose the more problems in terms of degradation, with the bumps at Silverstone adding to the conundrum.
“The bumps are bad, honestly they're bad and we know the bumps with the Michelins are worse – even though they're softer, they don't go over the bumps as well. They [bumps] are bigger this year and the surface is more shiny. We want this surface resurfaced, which we've been wanting for the past five years.
“I think the rear tyre will be a lot more stressed for us than the front, as in wear-wise, but we have what we have and it's the same for everybody,” said Crutchlow.
“I used the soft [rear] at the end and the hard at the start, but I was quite competitive on the hard and I felt okay. I tested something back to back on our bikes and I preferred one more than the other and then I put the soft tyre in at the end in case it rains tomorrow. The hard rear has less grip but is probably a bit more stable.
“The front is a lottery; the soft I think some people could race with it, but I don't think we can with the Honda. It's hard work overall – it's not just my bike, it's all the Hondas.”