Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso enjoyed a successful ending to the winter testing schedule in Jerez today, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 riders heading to the first race of the 2012 MotoGP World Championship in confident mood. British rider Crutchlow once again excelled with and he set the fifth quickest time after completing an in credible 83-laps.
After yesterday’s schedule was disrupted by rain and strong winds, Crutchlow was able to assess updated Yamaha electronics and two new Bridgestone front tyres in much more favourable conditions today, and he was able to clock a fastest time of 1.39.613. The former World Supersport Champion was again the leading non-factory rider and encouragingly his fast and consistent pace was less than 0.1s behind Ben Spies in the Yamaha Factory Racing Team.
The sunny but breezy conditions today enabled Dovizioso to carry out an extensive testing schedule and helped him continue adapting his riding style to suit the Yamaha machine. The Italian concentrated on improving stability under acceleration and he finished in seventh position, his fastest pace of 1.39.860 putting him just over 0.2s away from the top six. The next time for Crutchlow and Dovizoso on track will be on April 5 when they commence practice for the opening round of the new 1000cc era under the floodlights at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar.
Crutchlow and Dovizioso head to Doha full of confidence and boosted by the outstanding performance of Yamaha’s new YZR-M1 machine in pre-season testing. The competitive level of the 1000cc bike was confirmed again this weekend, with four Yamaha machine’s inside the top seven places.
Cal Crutchlow (5th 1.39.585 — 83 laps)
“I’m really happy to finish this test in the top five with a very fast pace because we worked through a lot. Today I only used three sets of tyres in 83 laps, yet I was fast and consistent all day, so it shows we are getting good endurance from the soft and the hard options. The different electronic set-up also helped in acceleration, so it was a very positive and productive day after the rain washed out yesterday. The good thing is we know the bike works very well on a completely different track. The tests in Sepang were crucial but we needed to come to a completely different circuit like Jerez to understand if the bike has a goo d base level for a tighter and shorter track. Yamaha has done a great job because the YZR-M1 works very well. Finishing behind Stoner, Lorenzo, Pedrosa and Spies is obviously good for my confidence and now I’m looking forward to going to Qatar and racing. I feel ready and much better prepared than last year.”
Andrea Dovizioso (7th 1.39.860 — 72 laps)
“I’m really happy about the work we did today and thanks to my Tech 3 crew because they worked incredibly hard. After the stomach illness I had on the first day and the rain yesterday, I really needed to get in as many laps as possible to understand the potential of the Yamaha on a completely different track to Sepang. We d id some very good work in improving the stability of the bike on the exit of the corner and this is so important at a slower track like Jerez. You can have a lot of sliding and wheelie on the exit but we have improved a lot in this area. I think I could have gone faster but I only used the soft rear tyre in the final 30 minutes, so with more time I’m sure I could have been inside the top six. Now I am looking forward to going to Qatar and racing the Yamaha for the first time. I’m convinced we will be fast and competitive but the four at the top of the timesheets are really strong. They are consistently fast, so it will not be easy to stay with them. But I will be giving it my maximum to start the new season in the best possible way.”