Cal Crutchlow and his new Tech 3 Yamaha Team concluded a successful start to preparations for the 2011 MotoGP world championship, with significant progress made at the end of a three-day test at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia.
Crutchlow made a brilliant recovery after the MotoGP rookie had a high-speed crash on the second afternoon. Cal returned to knock nearly 1.3s off his time from the first day, as he completed 127 laps by the time the test reached its climax.
Crutchlow was able to quickly master the long and technical MotoGP Sepang circuit he’d never seen before and he overcame constant discomfort in his left shoulder following pre-Christmas surgery to expertly build up his confidence and speed with his new Yamaha M1 race bike.
Although Crutchlow was buoyed by his hugely encouraging performance, the British rider only clocked a best time of 2.02.717 to finish 17th on the final MotoGP time sheets in what turned out to be a productive second test with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team.
Cal Crutchlow (Tech3 Yamaha M1 – 17th) says: "I am happy with the test because I am still learning so much but I was able to run a consistent pace and drop my lap times on each day. I’m on a big learning curve and I wasn’t looking for pure speed.
"I’d never ridden at this track before and it is certainly a tough place to learn quickly. All the other guys have done millions of laps around here and I just need to build up my experience. I’ve got to improve in every area but I’m happy and the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team are happy too.
"My times are in the ballpark of those set in last year’s race and that’s pleasing considering everything is still so new for me and I wasn’t in peak physical condition because of my shoulder. I need to improve in the braking area and also step up my pace on t he hard Bridgestone tire, but I feel I’m getting more comfortable with the bike.
"I’ve been looking at loads of data and when we return later this month I’ll continue trying to adapt my style. I’m still riding the (MotoGP) bike too much like a superbike, but I’m pleased that I’m progressing and getting faster."
Cal Crutchlow and his American teammate Colin Edwards will back on track at Sepang on Feb. 22 for the second of three pre-season tests ahead of the first MotoGP race in Qatar on March 20, 2011.