Although Quartararo only managed eighth place last Sunday at Motegi, non-scores for nearest championship rivals Francesco Bagnaia and Aleix Espargaro means the young Frenchman has strengthened his positioned at the top of the table with four rounds to go.

“I think Fabio will push for the wins,” said Crutchlow, speaking on the eve of this weekend’s Buriram round in Thailand.

“He is so strong mentally with his mind-set, the confidence he has on the bike and his feeling. And he’s sort of uncrackable. If something happens, he forgets about it.

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“I understand the situation he had in Motegi. The bikes he’s racing against, it’s so difficult to pass them.

“I found that myself in the race - it took me three laps to pass each guy, because you need to get such a run on them. Or wait for them to have not-the-best exit on a corner or something.

“The problem is every person you pass is faster than the one before and he was up against race winners and podium finishers this year.

“So Motegi wasn’t easy but I think if he would have started on the front row or had a better start - his pace was good for the podium.

“And now we are coming to some circuits that will be more friendly to him and to our bike.”

Crutchlow: Strange track, strange weather

After a 14th at Aragon, then 15th at Motegi, Buriram will be the next event of Crutchlow’s unexpected six-race MotoGP ‘comeback’ in place of the retired Andrea Dovizioso at RNF.

The Englishman can also count on some previous MotoGP knowledge of the circuit, having taken part in both the previous 2018 and 2019 Thai events.

“It’s a strange track. I liked it the first time I came here when I did the test,” Crutchlow said of the Buriram circuit. “Then the first race in 2018 was good, I finished seventh but only six-seconds off the winner. It was quite a close race.

“The second year I blew a brake disc and brake pad, so rode the whole race with metal-on-metal and the bike was pulling to one side! So that wasn’t great but I understood why.”

Those races were both in the dry, but wet weather is currently forecast throughout this weekend.

“It will be a strange situation with the weather. I was hoping for another dry weekend but was also OK in the rain [in qualifying in Japan] except I kept getting my laps cancelled - I never understood the rules! I think my lap time could have been good enough for 14th on the grid," said Crutchlow.

“This weekend, if we can get one dry session it makes it easier for engineers to have the data in case of a dry race. Whereas if you have everything wet and then a dry race, it’s going to be an upside-down field. But we’ll see.

“The bikes are easier to ride physically in the wet of course, although using the devices in the rain and then having to essentially top out the rear spring [to unlock it again], shows how hard we are braking in the rain.

“I used to ride a bike with just a throttle, brake, clutch and the map buttons. Now there are levers on handlebars [for the ride-height devices] and buttons everywhere!

“For someone old like me it is quite hard to understand, hence why I started the last race with no front device or rear device! Then I pressed the launch control button 0.6s before I let the clutch out! I was still holding the thing [down] while I was going away!”

After a shortened Motegi schedule, MotoGP will return to two free practice sessions at Buriram on Friday, weather permitting.