Cal Crutchlow believes he still has plenty in reserve despite topping the MotoGP timesheets on the first day of free practice at Silverstone, with the Englishman stating “I pushed a little bit but nowhere near my 100 percent” when detailing his considerable FP2 efforts.

The Englishman, who scored a combative second place here during last year’s race, was competitive throughout the day, ending FP1 third fastest before going two places better in the afternoon. By 3pm he was a full quarter of a second quicker than Valentino Rossi after a typically determined showing.

And, speaking later, Crutchlow said it was a day when he could do little wrong. The 31-year old appeared relaxed, content, and quietly confident of his abilities to repeat last year’s feat of ascending the home podium when addressing the media later that afternoon.

“I feel good and my bike is working well but tomorrow is another day,” Crutchlow told a packed media debrief. “We race motorcycles and nothing is ever easy and it’s a dream when it goes perfectly. Today was one of those days where everything goes well.

“I was good in FP1 with the soft front tyre which is not usually my style. This afternoon we used the harder one and it was too soft because the track temperature went up; last year it was twenty degrees and this year forty so of course it is too soft and it’s all we’ve got and we have to try and make them work as well as possible.

“For sure I pushed a little but nowhere near my 100%. I nearly went down in the last corner and that would have been big. I was happy enough with the day.”

How did he find the track, which has bumps that are upsetting many riders? “Yeah, they have resurfaced three of the corners from last year and they are better but the other corners are worse,” he replied.

“We are going faster in the corners where it’s been resurfaced and slower where it hasn't. But it is bumpy: Turn nine… Watch Moto3 bikes there. I could not even watch the screen. When you are on it you just have to deal with it.

“Anyway, amazing lap-times for a first day at Silverstone. Last year I did a 2m 2.6s in the race and this morning I did a 2m 2.7s immediately; it was one and a half seconds quicker than what I did in free practice last year. I think I did a 2m 1.9s in the afternoon. We have no idea why.”

Looking at the opposition, Crutchlow sounded out cautiously when speaking of his podium chances, believing three other riders – Rossi, Maverick Viñales (third fastest) and Marc Marquez (fifth) – all pose a very real threat for, at the very least, a podium place.

“Even though today has gone well I can easily find myself off the podium,” he said. “Both Vale and Maverick are very fast and with one on the soft tyre and one on the hard tyre. Vale will be difficult to beat on the last lap in a battle.

“Marc will 100 percent be there: no doubt about that. So there’re three guys who could take the podium. I had a good scrap last year so I will be up for another one.”

Crutchlow was also close to having a front row seat for Marquez’s spectacular get off early into FP2, where the 24-year old was launched from his RC213V through the speedy Maggotts / Becketts complex.

The Englishman was full of admiration for his Catalan colleague, expressing mock disbelief at Marquez's ability to brush himself down from bruising spills. “The left hand side warm-up is tricky and I normally leave it an extra lap,” Crutchlow explained. “If that was anyone else he’d have two broken legs and a dislocated shoulder! I have no idea how he gets away with them.

“And to top it off in the next crash the bike nearly hit him and he still misses it; someone else would be cleaned up. It shows credit to how fast and how tough it is to get back up and still go fast immediately.

“He is riding well and in one of the best parts of his career. His crash was massive. I was going into Turn 2 and I looked up and thought ‘what the f**k’s that?!’ and in the distance it was him flying through the air. It was big…but I’m glad he’s OK.”



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