Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Cal Crutchlow took full advantage of improved weather conditions to storm into the top three on a second day of MotoGP testing in Jerez that was dominated by Yamaha‘s 2013 YZR-M1 machine. Although there was no repeat of yesterday’s torrential rain, much brighter skies and a strong wind didn’t dry the track quickly enough for any meaningful testing to commence until after 1pm. Having waited patiently to start crucial set-up work on his YZR-M1 machine, Crutchlow was able to quickly find a fast pace and a 1.41.247 on only his third lap moved him into second position.
As track conditions and grip levels improved, Crutchlow was able to improve his pace to a 1.39.574 that secured him a brilliant third position on the timesheets with a gap of just 49 thousandths of a second behind factory Yamaha duo Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo. The majority of the afternoon session took place in sunny but breezy skies but the grey clouds that were a constant feature yesterday returned with 90 minutes of track time left and rain started to fall again. The showers quickly stopped but with conditions far from ideal, Crutchlow took no further part in proceedings. A dry track presented rookie Bradley Smith with the ideal opportunity to put in vital laps on slick tyres after yesterday’s rain had restricted him to just 14-laps on Bridgestone’s wet weather rubber.
Smith was able to complete 41 laps this afternoon and gain valuable time on track as he continued to adapt to the YZR-M1 machine. He set a personal best time of 1.41.398 that left him less than 0.1s outside of the top 10 and only 0.7 s away from the top six. He also grasped the chance to pursue nine-times World Champion Valentino Rossi for a short spell earlier, learning how to improve his riding technique to suit the heavier and more powerful YZR-M1 after a two-year spell in the Moto2 category.
3rd 1.39.574 — 44 laps
“I am very happy with how today went and it was good to get in some laps in the dry. We had a few things to try with the bike and the weather meant we could assess what was positive and negative. It wasn’t easy at the start because the track was really dirty and then later on it got quite cold and slippery, but we got some important work completed on the set-up. My Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team did a great job and I am sure with some small adjustments tomorrow we can be faster. The pleasing aspect of today was I was very consistent and that makes me confident for when we come back for the race here. The fact that the top three was filled by Yamaha also bodes well for the race in a few weeks. I am right in the mix with the factory bikes again and this is very satisfying for me.”
12th 1.41.398 — 41 laps
“Today was positive because I really need dry track time and also to get some data of riding the bike on a track other than Sepang. I felt much happier than in Malaysia because it is a track I definitely like and we can see from the top three that it suits the Yamaha very well too. Immediately from the first exit I felt comfortable and knew my reference points quicker. It was easier for me to pick up the pace and we made some really good improvements and progress during the first four exits. We tried some set-up modifications to get an idea about my feedback and at that point we realized that we were going in the wrong direction and just as we came back to what I liked it started raining and that was a shame. I still need to improve a lot but the gap to the firs t six is not as big as Sepang and that is a positive. I followed Valentino for a short time today and it was a very interesting experience. I could pick up some things about riding technique and I could understand that I need to be a little smoother.”