Cal Crutchlow was the first MotoGP rider to debut a prototype version of the 2018 RC213V, during post-season testing at Valencia on Tuesday.

One machine each was also available to factory Repsol Honda riders Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa, but it was Crutchlow who completed the first run.

The Englishman went on to spend much of his 30 laps with the carbon-fibre black bike, sandwiched between runs on his 2017 race bike.

"They are trying to make the new bike easier to ride, but keep our positives, which is mainly corner entry," began Crutchlow, speaking in a chilly Valencia paddock on Tuesday evening.

"I think they've done a good job because essentially what they have brought is a different engine, different chassis... basically a completely new bike."

Crutchlow said he impressed to receive the new bike at the very start of winter testing, which will allow more time than in recent seasons to iron-out any issues.

"We are very positive that HRC has given us a new bike this early. We haven’t done too much setting-wise because we only got our hands on it yesterday and we've set it up very much like our normal race bike. Just as a reference, and then we'll go from there.

"Ever since I first jumped on it I've felt quite good.

"From what I'm aware the bike was on track three days ago and then we have it now. So I think it's the first [version]. They will for sure make changes to it. But if you look at it, it's special. No doubt about that.

"It's something significantly different to what we had before. We have to be pleased with the way it's come out of the crate, but we still have work to do."

While optimistic that the new bike is less brutal to ride, Crutchlow cautioned that the true test will only come in race conditions.

"The factory have worked hard on what we’ve asked for. We want to make it easier to ride, that was our request and it seems they’ve done a good job of that. But the truth comes on the race weekend when you've got to push, when the tyres are a lot more worn, when you're behind people, when your competitors are on different bikes. But the initial thoughts are that it seems better.

"I also think this is a difficult circuit to see a big change. Lot of left hand corners and three or four rights that you take it quite easy on. I think we'll see the difference more in the other circuits we'll go testing on.

"But it's only the first day on track, so we can be happy enough. I think the new bike has a lot more positives than negatives that's for sure. We look forward to continuing tomorrow.

"It's been busy in the garage, and obviously I now have a team-mate as well. He did a good job today and he's working good," added the double MotoGP race winner, referring to rookie Takaaki Nakagami, who was 17th fastest.

Crutchlow meanwhile set the tenth fastest lap time, 0.677s from Yamaha's Maverick Vinales.

"The lap time was nearly better than I'd done all weekend by half a tenth or something. After 20 laps. I think we could have gone faster if we needed to, but it's pretty irrelevant.

"We have one [new] bike to work on and we have next week [at Jerez] as well. I did one run on my normal bike from the weekend and the last run as well. You probably saw Dani do the same.

"There seemed to be quite good grip today which was strange because it was freezing cold. And the track looked dusty. It was really windy yesterday and the track must have been covered in crap.

"There was also a digger going around on the infield, digging a motocross track or something! And it was blowing dust back on the track. I was thinking, 'please just give it a rest mate! Turn 10 is already naughty enough'.

"But the lap times were not too bad. It was so strange. I was sat in the garage this morning thinking, 'you fill your boots Jack. You stay out there mate!'"

Having long predicted that good friend Jack Miller would be competitive on the Ducati, Crutchlow was asked further about the Australian's fifth fastest lap time on his Desmosedici debut.

"That's the reality! I told you! I think his fifth or sixth lap of the day was faster than he'd been for most of the weekend. That shows the reality of what we have been riding, because next year may be different."

Crutchlow doesn't expect their relationship to change much now they are at different manufacturers.

"We were competitors at Honda and we'll still be competitors now he is at Ducati. I don't see a massive difference in our relationship that's for sure. The problem is he'll just be more competitive than he has been. That's clear to see from today's result."

Testing at Valencia continues on Wednesday.


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