|Cal finished ahead of five factory riders in Jerez
Photo: Yamaha Tech3
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Cal Crutchlow had a ‘tough’ opening day at the legendary Jerez circuit, despite finishing in third position overall.
The Coventry rider was fourth fastest in a cooler FP1 this morning, setting a time 0.046 seconds behind fellow Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo. Sunny conditions in FP2 allowed times to drop and Crutchlow was able to improve his pace. He finished the day the fastest non-factory rider in second, 0.171 seconds behind Lorenzo.
Crutchlow said “It was quite a tough day because we made a lot of changes that meant the bike was set-up completely different than the way we had it at the test. We made it a little bit longer and lower to give me a good feeling because while I was able to set the fastest time at the test, the track temperature was much higher today and it meant the bike was not working perfectly with the set-up we ran at the test. I was changing bikes during FP2 and doing a lot of laps to try as many things as possible and I am positive for the rest of the weekend. We’ve got a few ideas to improve even further tomorrow and I will sit down with my crew tonight and have a good look at the data to come up with a plan of attack for the rest of the weekend. My Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team is doing a great job again and being competitive and fast today gives us a lot of confidence to take into Saturday and Sunday.”
Rookie Smith is still working on smoothing out his riding style for the R1, but is taking positives from the track time he was able to get under the Spanish sun today. The 22 year old took a steady approach to FP1, and with cooler track conditions he finished the session in 17th position. FP2 saw track temperatures soar to 45 degrees and Smith was able to improve a second on his previous lap times, which put him in 13th and as a result, 14th in the overall times.
Smith revealed “The nice thing about today is I was able to go a little bit faster than I managed at the test, so the gap to the front is still quite similar. I haven’t lost anything but I’m a little bit disappointed that I didn’t gain anything as well. I am a lot happier after this afternoon’s session though and my main focus was on trying to ride the bike in a smoother way. It is so important to be smooth on a MotoGP bike and I’m still working on that. I’m losing most of my time in sector 4 and we’ll check some data and see where I can improve. But it was another good day of learning and I’m looking forward to taking another step forward tomorrow.”