Cal Crutchlow says he is exactly where he hoped and expected to be after the first test of 2013 in Malaysia. The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider was fifth quickest with only the factory bikes from Honda and Yamaha ahead of him and remains confident of taking the fight to them this year. Crutchlow also voiced praise for teammate Bradley Smith after he closed the test in eighth place.

“It has been a very positive week and I am where I expected to be and that’s right behind the top four factory bikes. I can’t really ask for more than that and I’m pleased with my lap times because my bike is almost identical to the bike I rode last year. Today I was doing a lot of laps on old tyres and trying to stay consistent and I’ve improved. I also feel like I’ve made good progress in improving on the brakes, so it has been a productive test and good to be back on track after the winter break. I’ve built up my confidence each day but it is obvious that 2013 is going to be incredibly tough. There is some amazing talent on really good machinery but I am really looking forward to it. I’ll be ready to give it 100% as always and come the first race in Qatar I’ll be ready to challenge. Credit to Bradley as well because he has done a fantastic job this week. This was his first proper test in MotoGP and he has got faster and more confident each day. I have been very impressed with him and it is going to be good being his teammate this season.”

Smith was pleased with the progress he’d made during the week but acknowledges there is a long way still to go, both on the stopwatch, and in terms of the physical challenge presented by a MotoGP bike.

“I am really happy with the way this test has gone and my lap times and final position have already given me a lot of confidence. I didn’t come here with any expectations but to be eighth is where this bike needs to be. I am still not getting all of the potential out of the YZR-M1 but I am gaining in confidence with every lap I complete and it has been mission accomplished in terms of coming here and understanding how the bike needs to be ridden. I still need to be a lot smoother but I am happy to be within two seconds of the fastest time. I knew that was possible but the hard work starts now to close that gap even more. The race simulation was amazing to build up my experience but it was seriously hard work. It was the hottest day and it is very physically and mentally demanding to ride a MotoGP bike at that pace over a long distance. It is hard to concentrate but the best thing was on the last lap I did a 2.02.9 and my best lap was a 2.02.5. So I was consistent and while I need to be faster, I’m really happy to be leaving this test having learned so much. I need a good sleep now to digest all the information I’ve taken on but already I can’t wait to be back on the bike here later this month.”