Cal Crutchlow will persist with a 'scooter style' handlebar-mounted rear brake lever, despite finding it 'difficult' at present.

The LCR Honda rider believes it can offer an advantage over the traditional foot-operated lever, but not in the area normally expected.

The usual benefit cited for a hand-operated rear brake is at big lean angles, when it is awkward to reach the foot pedal.

But Crutchlow revealed he is mainly seeking better straight-line braking by using the lever, which is mounted above the clutch (now used only for the start of a race) on the left side of the handlebar.

"It's difficult!" smiled Crutchlow, when asked about the brake after being fourth fastest (+0.289s) and top Honda on day one of the Sepang test.

"I really hammer my right foot on the rear brake, put all my weight through it. I have a really stiff spring and really hard pads so then it's not putting a lot of energy through the system. It's just the way I like to use it.

"But then I've been using the finger-brake [lever] and the thing is so sensitive… when you ride a bicycle and you brake, you brake with basically the same power on both hands.

"So that was what I did a few times when I was riding today! I braked full [power] with the right hand and then grabbed the left lever [and the bike went sideways]!"

Although it's not natural for "the way I ride" the Englishman added: "I will continue to use it because I think it can be positive in some areas. It's getting to that point where you're not thinking about it [on the bike], whereas at the moment I'm still thinking about it.

"I don’t use it [mid-corner], I use it in the braking zone. In the mid-corner I use my foot again, which is strange!

"But we want to decelerate the bike earlier in the braking zone and the position you're in, in the braking zone, doesn’t always allow you to use your rear brake. Because you're sliding forward and unless you put your leg at a 90-degree angle like Marc, it's difficult to do."

Meanwhile, Crutchlow's hopes of getting through a decent chunk of a 'massive' testing to-do list were hampered by day one rain and technical delays.

"I've got one bike similar to last year and the other two are potential bikes for this year that we have stuff to test on," he said.

"Overall I have a massive amount of stuff to test and to go through. The rain did not help us. We just had some small delays, not problems with the bike, just things that take time to change.

"So it wasn't a busy day. I sat in my room for four hours, I let my mechanics get on with it as it's something I know nothing about! Then it rained. I got out for 5 laps at the end, then it rained again.

"But it was nice to be out there. Ironically, I felt good despite only sitting on a motorbike once for a picture since Jerez in November. I'll probably have more trouble tomorrow, especially peeling my head off the pillow when I wake-up!

"30-laps sounds like nothing, but when you haven't ridden in that long - on the bike you don't feel too bad, but the next day you start to feel it. Being older as well!"

Reigning world champion Marc Marquez, making his return from shoulder surgery, was the next best Honda rider, in twelfth.

 

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