The 2013 MotoGP World Championship pre-season ended in stunning style for Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Cal Crutchlow, who topped the time-sheets on a weather-hit final day at the Jerez track in Spain. The 27-year-old surged to the top of the time-sheets on a greasy but dry track in the closing stages of a day that saw less than two hours of track time available following early morning rain. Crutchlow powered his YZR-M1 machine to a brilliant time of 1.39.511 in the final hour to better Valentino Rossi’s best lap that the Italian set on the second day by just 0.014s.
Crutchlow’s impressive performance today provided him with the perfect confidence boost ahead of the first race in Qatar on April 7, where he will be looking for a strong start to his third season in the MotoGP World Championship. This morning’s rain and the short window to test on a dry track this afternoon gave Bradley Smith another opportunity to build up his experience on Bridgestone’s wet and slick tyres. Smith completed 25 laps in the wet and then spent a large part of the day waiting for the surface to dry to further work on his riding style and YZR-M1 settings on a dry track. He completed an additional 31-laps on slick rubber and after setting a best time of 1.41.398 in the dry yesterday, he was able to improve his pace to a 1.41.134. That encouraging pace moved him one place up the rankings from 12th to 11th and on the combined leader-board he finished 13th. After a positive pre-season Smith is confident that he can be fighting for a top 10 finish on his much anticipated MotoGP dÃ©but at the Losail International Circuit in Doha.
1st 1.39.511 — 30 laps
“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.”
13th 1.41.134 — 56 laps
“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.”