Crutchlow: Honda thought we'd cut the chicane!

"Honda came in and thought we'd cut the chicane!" - Cal Crutchlow.
Crutchlow: Honda thought we'd cut the chicane!

Cal Crutchlow put his LCR Honda on top of the timesheets at Monday's official Catalunya MotoGP test.

Fresh from a season-best sixth in the race, the Englishman delivered the only sub-1m 44s lap at the very end of testing (good enough for second in qualifying) using some development Michelin tyres.

"First we used the same tyre as qualifying - our soft compound from the weekend - to get a reference, because the two new tyres were based on that," Crutchlow explained. "Then we used the two new rears, that other guys used earlier in the day.

"As you can see from the lap time, they were good."

The 30-year-old revealed the new rear had so much grip it made his RCV vibrate, rather than spin and slide, despite using a 'slow' engine for the test.

"On my fast lap honestly if you'd have said to me 'what was the lap time', I'd have said nowhere near what it was, because I had so much vibration," Crutchlow explained. "But it's because when you have too much grip you have a lot of vibration. It was hooking up good on the exit I can tell you that!

"The problem was we too little power for the tyre, because I had no spinning, but it wasn't accelerating because we didn't give it enough torque. This is why we test and we gave the guys some valuable information.

"Honda are happy with the way we worked today. It's funny; they came in and thought we'd cut the chicane!" Crutchlow smiled.

"Of course it's nice to be back on the top of the timesheet. It's a Monday so it doesn't really mean anything. But we've definitely taken some positives from today.

"We worked well as a team and tried our best with what we've got. Our bike was really slow because we put an old engine in and the only new parts from Honda were the wings."

Indeed, while the flying time grabbed the headlines, Crutchlow spent much of his 73 laps on race tyres evaluating the larger Honda winglets, set-up changes, different braking components and electronics.

"We tried the 'over the top' wing for Honda. Obviously in the last races they haven't used it. We used it today just to give them some information and also for us. To me I think it's maybe a little better," Crutchlow declared.

"We used the hard tyre most of the day, because that's what we raced and what would be using again if we raced tomorrow. I also had some setting changes that we wanted to try, we went a little bit softer with the front of the bike and it helped me to decelerate quite well.

"I tried a different brake lever and master cylinder. I like it because it moves a lot more in my hand and is less sensitive - there are a couple of riders in the championship that have been using a sensitive lever and I'm one of them.

"The only problem is as soon as the bike shakes you've got no brake and I had a couple of moments where I just went completely straight. We've seen this from Marc a couple of times, when he's had some shaking and just gone straight.

"And just some electronics stuff. But electronic stuff takes so long to do. There's eight hours of testing, but it takes 25 minutes every time you want to make a decent electronic change.

"I think the factory guys also tested [electronics] today and I was quite impressed with how it worked. Difficult to understand a little bit when you a riding the bike, but yeah, not a bad direction for us to go in...

"We have to go to Assen optimistic and hopefully Michelin will bring some of these tyres. Sure, we don't know if they will last a race distance, because nobody did a race simulation, but I think they would work on that type of circuit."

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