New Ducati signing Cal Crutchlow wasn't able to match the pace of team-mate Andrea Dovizioso at Sepang but the British star was encouraged by his progress on the Desmosedici as the test reached a conclusion.

Crutchlow now has more confidence to push harder on the GP14 compared to last year's bike and feels the new model is 'improving all the time'.

His lap time of 2m 01.057s put him in 12th place on Thursday and was some way off the 2m 00.370s lap set by Dovizioso, who ended the test in seventh place.

But Crutchlow was upbeat nonetheless, saying: "I know the position doesn't look too good but I have to say that I'm pleased. I'm a long way from Dovi but overall we're quite consistent and faster than yesterday.

"I just did my lap time at the wrong time of the day, when it was 15 degrees hotter. If I'd done that lap in the morning then I would've been there or thereabouts where Andrea was.

"I'm not overly concerned about the lap time because I'm normally a good one-lap rider, so there's no concern there.

"We seem to have found a few more things with the bike and it seems as though you're able to take a few more risks - not risks as such, I mean that you're able to push the bike a little bit more," he added.

"I haven't ridden the GP13 much but I've put it on the floor twice, once at one test and once now. It has so much less brake pressure and lean angle than what you can get on this bike [GP14] now.

"We still have a lot of issues that we want to improve, like the grip, the wheelieing; we have a lot of vibration," Crutchlow added.

"But we can't solve the issues here, we need time and the guys need to go back to Bologna to see where we go from here.

"Overall, on reflection, I'm happy. The lap times I'm doing here today aren't far off what I was doing last year on a different bike."

Crutchlow dismissed any suggestion that Aleix Espargaro's impressive times on the Open class FTR-M1 this week would influence Ducati's thinking over a potential switch to the category.

"The bike he's got there [FTR-M1] is my bike from last year with more fuel and a soft tyre. All credit to Aleix, he's riding well, but that makes no difference to our decision if we actually decide to go to the Open class," he said.

"Aleix hasn't gained a second because he's in the Open class. If you put him on the bike Pol's [Espargaro] on [Monster Yamaha Tech 3] he'd be just as fast.

"There are things we need to look at outside of this test and we'll continue to look at those things and follow Gigi's [Dall'Igna] decision.

"It's not my decision to take but I'll follow whatever decision they take because I believe that will be the best decision," he added.

"I'm confident Ducati can do a great job and continue to improve."

Ducati Test Team rider Michele Pirro finished day three with a fastest lap of 2m 01.782s after 57 laps.



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