Cal Crutchlow believes he and his LCR Honda squad are “going in the right direction” with regards to bike set-up for Sunday’s inaugural MotoGP race in Thailand.

The Englishman was competitive throughout Friday, backing up his speed here during February’s preseason test, posting the third fastest time in FP2, just 0.074s off Andrea Dovizioso’s quickest lap of the day.

“The track seems in real bad condition compared to when we tested here," said Crutchlow. "But it's just slippy, we need to blow the dust off the track, there's probably not been much happening here for a while.

“Otherwise I feel good, the bike's working well. We tried two different setups today, one was our usual bike and the other was the bike we used in the test here, and it seems like with the usual bike, the one we used in the last races, my feeling with it was better.

“But yeah, we have to continue tomorrow. Unfortunately my time is probably not fast enough to keep us in the top 10, so we have to do the shootout again in the morning. I was hoping that we could go quick enough that the tenth place guy wasn't fast enough, but they all managed to find a lap time because they can all have three soft tyres in the morning.

“My pace feels good, but I didn't feel superb with the bike, honestly speaking, but I've tried two different bikes, one that I tested at the start of the year here, so that sort of setting, and then we tried our latest race setting, and I prefer my latest bike a little bit, so that's quite good. It's positive to see that we're going in the right direction.

"I don't think that soft is ever going to last. But have a look at the tyre spec sheet, all the manufacturers split the tyres. So one would ride on one tire, one would ride on the other tire, I rode on a different tire to Dani and Marc this morning, so then we have the information. But the front tire felt a lot worse than the test, and it's the same front tyre. It shows that the grip is not there at the minute.”

What of the physical effects of riding in these conditions? “I don't think Sepang is as bad as here, no way,” he said. “Because you have two straights. Here, it looks like a straight, but we're fighting the wheelie so much and we're not going straight, that in the end, it makes it more hard work than Sepang. But it's hotter here than Sepang, f**king sure.

“Don't get me wrong, I love riding in the heat, and I love riding a motorbike, and it sounds like we're all complaining. So to people at home, they'll all think we're complaining about riding a bike in the sun.

“But when our heart rates are 190ish, riding round – when I ran the heart rate monitor in Misano, the last time, I averaged 192 for 41 minutes. Average. So you can imagine doing that.”

I'm sure everyone else is in the same boat. I feel great and physically fit always, but here feels hard work. So I think if it feels hard work for me, it's hard work for everyone. Yamahas will have the easiest race, because they don't fight their bike, Suzukis as well. They never ever fight the bike.”

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