Cal Crutchlow was impressed with the performance of the new Yamaha YZR-M1 after testing it at Jerez on Friday. The Briton was fifth fastest with only the factory entrants from Honda and Yamaha ahead of him and was delighted with the progress made since the Sepang tests earlier in the off-season.
“Today was a positive start to the test and important for me to carry on the momentum we gained in Sepang. I did a lot of laps but I have to do that because this is only my second time at this track and I need to gain some experience so I am in the best shape possible when we return for the race next month. We have made really good progress with the set-up of the bike today and it is good that we have come to a completely different style track compared to Sepang and the bike is working well.”
Crutchlow also saw positive signs in the way the YZR-M1 treated the tyres. The 26 year old set his quickest time on the hard rear tyre and sees that as a definite step forward compared to last year.
“We are always looking to improve and the bike is still a bit of a handful to manage exiting the corner, but a real positive is that I did my best time today on the hard rear tyre. Last year on the 800 I could never really use the hard tyre, so I’m pleased about that because today I only did five laps on the soft tyre. Another big plus is my consistency. We talked about improving that over the winter and I’ve definitely improved in doing more constant times, so it has been a really productive start to the test.”
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 teammate Andrea Dovizioso wasn't quite as happy and admitted he didn't feel as comfortable as in Malaysia. The Italian, who turned 26 on Friday, also struggled with illness which restricted his running.
“I was really looking forward to starting this test today because it is a very important three days for me. It is my birthday too and I was looking forward to gaining more experience with the Yamaha. This morning though was not easy because I didn’t have the same good feeling with the bike as I did at the last test in Sepang. Thanks to my Tech 3 crew we found a much better setting but unfortunately I wasn’t able to exploit it because of my physical condition. I had some problem with my stomach and I had zero energy and I am sorry I could only make 46-laps. The most positive point of the day was some new electronics I tried which helped stability exiting the corner. But we can still improve more in this area. I am not worried about the gap to the front because I didn’t feel in a good enough physical condition to push hard.”