2008 BSB race winner and 2009 WSS rookie Cal Crutchlow expects to be 'highly competitive' when the new racing season starts, after finishing the official Portimao test second fastest.
The Englishman, riding for the factory-backed Yamaha World Supersport squad, left Portimao less than a tenth of a second off fastest rider Joan Lascorz - during disruptive weather conditions.
“I enjoyed the test although I was a little bit disappointed with the weather,” said Cal. “We wanted to get quite a lot done but didn't manage to get as much as we would have liked due to the changing conditions. We won't be out testing again now before Australia so the final test there will be a crucial one for us.
“Our time here in Portugal has proved we're up there in the championship and highly competitive,” he declared. “The team are working really well with me, we understand each other really well and I'm working well with the R6 too. It's been good for me and I'm looking forward to the next session.”
Team-mate and former world champion Fabien Foret was tenth fastest, almost 0.75sec behind Crutchlow, but believes he's now put his 2008 injuries behind him.
"It's been wet in the mornings and half dry in the afternoon, for me it's pointless to push too hard in these conditions,” said the Frenchman. “We tried to work as much as possible on the second day and we found a pretty good bike for me.
“I was getting the confidence back, it was getting easier to relax on the bike and I got up to fourth until a few minutes before the end when the other riders switched to fresh tyres for a fast lap.
“My speed is back and my confidence too, I am back to how I was before my crash last year,” he insisted. “I'm very happy, not just about the tests but about myself. I knew I would get my speed back and I was sure I would be fine but it's good to actually see it for real!”
“Of course we were not really pleased with the weather, we had only 70 or 80 laps for both riders over the three days,” confessed team manager Wilco Zeelenberg. “We are quite pleased with the final results though.
“Fabien improved a lot over the last test in Portimao, in the first three splits he was as fast as the top guys. We are really pleased as we know after a big crash you have to see if everything is ok, but he's able to give 110 percent.
“Cal was consistently fast, there are no technical problems at all. I think it will be close racing this year but I'm confident we can fight for the championship. We have a very competitive package and we're looking forward to the season. There are some very strong riders but we have two of them!” he declared.