|Can you tell he’s trying?
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team endured a successful final day of winter testing with Cal Crutchlow finishing top of the pile and rookie, Bradley Smith improving and gaining more experience once again at the Andalucian circuit.
After the track finally dried out with over an hour left of testing, Crutchlow managed 30 laps around the course, putting in his best lap time of 1m 39.511s on lap 22. The British rider, entering his 3rd year in the class and the Tech3 team, finished behind his factory Yamaha counterparts yesterday, but now sits several thousandths ahead of second place Valentino Rossi and over half a second ahead of fourth placed Jorge Lorenzo. Understandably, he’s very content with the days work. “It is obviously very satisfying to finish the test with the fastest time because it shows what a really good job I did and what a great job my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team did too. It is a shame we didn’t get the chance to get in a lot more dry laps but I have been very fast and consistent and that gives me a lot of confidence for when we return to Jerez for the third race. This morning’s rain meant the track wasn’t in a great condition in the last two hours and I felt I could have definitely gone faster if there was more grip available. But it is the same for everybody and we came out on top, so that’s positive. Each time I tried to improve my pace at the end I came across some traffic, so I’ve no doubt I could have gone faster. It has been a positive pre-season and I think I have shown I have made another big improvement for this year. This result gives me a lot of confidence going to Qatar but my goal will be to finish in the top six and get some early momentum like I did last season. It is going to be a very exciting season and now I can’t wait to get to Qatar.”
Team mate Bradley Smith completed 56 laps today and improved by a quarter of a second on yesterday’s time. He set his fastest time of 1m 41.134s on his final lap, leaving him in 13th place, in between the Aspar Aprilia’s of Randy de Puniet and Aleix Espargaró. “The really important aspect of today was that I did eventually get some dry time on track. I was reasonably happy with my performance in the wet because it is all about building my experience of the bike and tyres in those conditions. But I was really happy the track dried because I badly need seat time and the weather has definitely not helped my preparations. I’m still searching for a base setting but we have it clear the direction we need to move in with the bike and that’s to move away from what Andrea Dovizioso used and make the bike more like how Cal has his. I’m gradually getting more comfortable and at this test I’ve followed Cal, Jorge and Valentino to get a really understanding of how the Yamaha needs to be ridden. Now I’m really looking forward to going to Qatar. I’d have preferred to have done a few more dry laps in testing but I am confident and optimistic that I can start the season with a strong result.”