|Crutchlow struggled with grip levels at the second Sepang test
Photo: Monster Tech3 Yamaha
The all British Yamaha Tech3 team finished in the top ten at the opening day of the second test in Malaysia. A positive first day was cut short by rain, but it didn’t dampen their spirits. Cal Crutchlow and rookie Bradley Smith finished 6th and 10th respectively.
Crutchlow was straight out of the box and set the second fastest time on just his fifth lap. However searing track temperatures of 60 degree’s meant lap times were slower and Crutchlow failed to beat his time of 2.02.272, finishing the day in 6th. “I’m happy enough with today because all you could do was ride around to the grip that was available. This morning the track condition wasn’t good at all. It was greasy and the heat was just making it worse and you can see the lap times are a fair way off what we were doing here only recently. I was 1.5s off my best time from the first test and Pedrosa was about the same. Once I got to my best lap time today I pretty much stayed at that pace for the rest of the day because the grip wasn’t there. There were a few crashes and it was obvious that we’d got used to the grip that we had at the last test but it wasn’t there and when people started to push they crashed.”
Smith had a more positive day on his third outing on the YZR-M1. He was quick to establish himself in the top ten, until a small crash on turn 7 which he walked away unhurt from. With three hours track time remaining, torrential rain fell on the Sepang International Circuit and the humid conditions meant Smith couldn’t go back out after his crash to improve his time of 2.03.632, finishing the day in 10th. “This morning was another good learning process for me because the track condition was completely different to the first test. It was dirty and slippery and it meant that I had to ride smoothly, which is how I need to be riding this bike all of the time. I’ve been a little too aggressive but in those conditions I had to ride the bike in a completely different way. The crash was another part of the learning process too. I’d had a couple of warnings in the previous two laps but I kind of shrugged them off because I’m not sure what the limit is. Now I know the limit although a crash is never ideal. I’d done all my laps on the same set of tyres and now I know what the warning signs are I’ll be better prepared in the future.”