Cal Crutchlow feels 2013 could be the most open MotoGP season in years if Tuesday’s testing form is anything to go by. The Briton was sixth quickest, seven tenths off the pace set by Dani Pedrosa, despite admitting Sepang isn’t a circuit he particularly enjoys. Based on the closeness of the lap times, Crutchlow believes there are seven potential winners for the opening round in Qatar and counts himself among them.

“It was good to be back on the bike again after a couple of months away. I’m happy enough because initially it is all about getting the feeling back after a while off the bike. It is difficult for me coming to Sepang because it is not my favourite circuit but I am pleased and it has been a good start. I haven’t got too many updates to try on the bike but hopefully I’ve got some things to try later this week. I’ve been working more on tweaking my style a bit more today, particularly in the braking area to get the bike stopped better, which was an area I know I have to improve on for this season. It is clear looking at the top of the timesheets that it is going to be a fantastic season in MotoGP. I think any of us that finished in the top seven today will have a shot at winning a race and I think the fans are going to be treated to some fantastic racing.”

New Monster Yamaha Tech 3 teammate Bradley Smith continued his preparation for his rookie MotoGP campaign and ended the day a solid twelfth quickest. The Oxfordshire youngster made steady progress and is taking a cautious approach to the current test, focussing on acclimatising himself to the 1000cc YZR-M1.

“When I started getting warmed up this morning at 9am and it started raining, my heart sank and I thought it was going to be a Valencia experience all over again. Luckily it didn’t last and I got out on track and I am very satisfied with how today went. The idea for this test is to keep it very simple and be consistent, so each time I go out I learn, understand and enjoy it and get some confidence. Each exit from the pits I wanted to get to the lap time I did before and then try and beat it by a little bit. I managed that and for that reason it was a positive start.”

“This test is all about me learning how to ride the M1 rather than worrying about anything else like big set-up changes and we made good progress with every exit. All we’ve been doing is trying to make the bike as easy as possible to ride so I can understand the bike, the tyres and how the chassis works. We are keeping the bike very user-friendly just to help me understand the right lines. I’m still using Moto2 lines but being able to analyse Cal, Jorge and Valentino’s data is a big help because you can easily see what you are doing good and what you are doing bad. All I’m doing is learning and trying to gain some confidence before we try and make any big steps with changes, which we probably won’t until the next test back in Sepang at the end of the month.”