Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider, Brit Cal Crutchlow was looking good in testing at the Losail circuit in Qatar ahead of next weekends opener, until a crash near the end of the session caused him to require medical treatment on his left hand. It later emerged that the series newcomer had lost the tip of his little finger.
Before his off, Crutchlow was steadly improving after re-learning the floodlit circuit. He has ridden here before in 2009 in the World SuperSport championship. After adjusting front end settings he was just 0.5s away from the top 10 before his crash.
“The test certainly didn’t end how I wanted and it is a real shame because we had made some changes to the balance of the bike that really helped my confidence with the front-end tonight. But I made a silly little mistake at Turn 10. I lost the rear and closed the throttle but then lost the front and I couldn’t get my left hand out from underneath the handlebar. I’ve basically taken the tip off my left little finger and it is really sore now. I don’t need surgery but it is obviously going to be uncomfortable this weekend for the race now.” said Cal
He continued “I adapted to riding under the floodlights really quickly once I realised the shadows weren’t somebody trying to overtake me! I was confident of taking another step tonight and I’m sure I could have done without the crash. It cost me nearly three hours of track time, which I can’t really afford to lose at this stage, but I’m still looking forward to my MotoGP debut. It will be an honour to line-up against this field on Sunday night and as always I’ll be giving it my best.”
Crutchlow’s team-mate Colin Edwards coped well with windy conditions to close pre season testing in confident fashion. Edwards perfected a base setup to move forward with next weekend, and finished 8th on the timesheet.
After the session, Edwards said “It has been another positive test and now I’m really looking forward to the racing starting. The bike has been working awesome again at this track and it shows the hard work we put in during the two tests at Sepang recently has really paid off. We haven’t really needed to make any major changes to the bike and that is a good sign. If you can take the bike to a completely different track and it works then it shows we’ve found a good set-up and I’m confident we go into the new season with a really good package.”
Continuing, he said, “I ran through a few tyre options tonight and got some good information but the conditions were really windy. I want to be further up the timesheets but it is the last day of testing before we start racing and I just didn’t want to risk pushing for an outright lap time in those conditions. The wind was so bad in places it was blowing the front end out from underneath you, so I didn’t want to be caught out. I feel really motivated and excited and while I know it is going to be a tough year, I feel we can put up a good fight. The field is probably the strongest it’s ever been but I’m ready to go out there and fight for some good results.”