Cal Crutchlow is concerned that some of the development work he has carried out for Honda has not been embraced by factory riders Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa.
The LCR Honda rider, sixth fastest on the second and final day of the official MotoGP test at Valencia, says he feels more progress could be made if the Repsol pair experimented with some of the parts he has been testing.
Crutchlow won two races this season after being handed a chassis that was rejected by the Repsol riders after Barcelona. That same frame was then praised by Marc VDS riders Jack Miller and Tito Rabat when they tried it for the first time at this week's post-race test.
“We played around a lot in the last couple of days [with electronics] but the problem is that the stuff that I have tested over the last four races, they are not willing to ride a lot of the time, and then the development of it slows,� Crutchlow said.
“If they continued with what I was using, I think this would have progressed a lot more. But it's good information for Honda and the potential is a lot more, with different maps that we can try. We need to start to understand why all the riders aren't on the same wavelength a little bit with regards to progressing.
“There's more potential in certain things, like the chassis that Jack [Miller] and Tito [Rabat] have just jumped on and said 'why didn't we have that ages ago�. But they wouldn't build them because the other two didn't want it, and the other two chose this engine this year that we've complained about. Maybe I'll have to go to Jerez [test, next week], I don't know!�
Crutchlow tested the newer ('big-bang') and older Honda engines back-to-back on Wednesday, setting his fastest lap in 1m 30.709s as he finished seven tenths behind pacesetter Maverick Vinales on the Movistar Yamaha.
“It was a little better than yesterday. We tried a few things � different settings with the bike, not anything new. As you saw yesterday, we tried a few different parts from the Repsol team but nothing that they haven't been using over the year,� said the British rider.
“Yesterday was quite positive with our normal bike and then we were going through the motions with the new engine. Today we tested both back-to-back again. I did two runs with my normal engine at the start and then we continued with the new one.
“Yesterday, my second run of the day was already with the new engine, so we spent quite a lot of time back-to-back on some things. Then we got stopped for an hour [due to crashes at Turn 12] and I needed to continue for a little longer. I had to do some longer runs on old tyres and new tyres to compare the engines; again there were positives and negatives,� added Crutchlow.
“To me, it feels different to when I last rode it [new engine]. I think the factory [riders] are not riding the same engine as me fully, so it is difficult to compare data but at least then we have got some comparison of different riders with different bikes. But I think Honda have done a good job. I don't think it is easy in the moment to improve our package so much, but there are other areas to improve other than the engine and I think they also know that.�
Crutchlow highlighted the pace of MotoGP newcomers Jonas Folger and Johann Zarco on the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha machines as an indication of the issues faced by Honda.
“The clear indication again is that Folger and Zarco have just jumped on a satellite Yamaha and they are competitive � they are not the fastest riders in the world, they are nowhere near it, but that package is so easy to ride that they are now very competitive,� he said.
“You look at Tito [Rabat] who hammered them but he is nowhere � not even in the same window as them. It's exactly what I've been saying from the first time I jumped on the bike. I know Honda know this and are trying their best.�
Crutchlow also feels there is 'very good� potential with the Nissin brakes he has tested, but feels it is too risky to switch away from the Brembo brakes used by the factory team.
“The Nissin brakes were always a positive thing for me but the problem is that I'm not going to race anything that is different from the factory. They had a small issue at one point with the feeling and I think they've got a lot better, but I only did three runs on them � we need a few days on them,� said Crutchlow.
“But, same as always, we need to force the other guys to use them as well, but they're not going to. Until that happens I won't be confirming that I'll be racing them but I believe there is very good potential there.�
Crutchlow, meanwhile, was at a loss to explain the reason for a number of spills at Turn 12, including two separate tumbles involving new Suzuki riders Andrea Iannone and Alex Rins, which caused the session to be halted for an hour.
“There was talk about it maybe being the wings because everyone is doing wheelies at that point; the front wheel is not on the floor and when they brake, they are just locking straight. I've never seen any crashes there in six years of MotoGP, except for further on in the corner when you lose the front,� Crutchlow said.
“They were big crashes and it was right to stop the session and see what we could do. They'll have to look at that for next year because it's a fast place there. I don't know what it was particularly, so it was better to stop it.�
Responding to Andrea Dovizioso's suggestion that the removal of aerodynamic wings had contributed to the incident, Crutchlow swiftly dismissed the notion.
“Bullshit. There's no safety concern there because we raced for how many years without wings, and people were not crashing like that then,� he said.
“The problem is now that he wants as much torque as possible because he had the wings. There's no safety concern in regards to that, I don't believe.�