British talent Cal Crutchlow was unleashed on the MotoGP field for the first time at Valencia on Tuesday after a successful campaign in the World Superbike Championship with Yamaha’s factory squad.
The former World Supersport Champion tested a YZR-M1 machine at Yamaha’s Fukuroi test track in Japan last month, but yesterday gave him the opportunity to line up against the star-studded MotoGP line-up for the first time and he acquitted himself superbly.
Crutchlow had a small crash at the fifth corner but returned to the track later in the day and impressively built up his confidence again to post a best time of 1:34.314 in his 59-lap stint.
“It was good to be finally part of MotoGP and to get in some dry track time on the bike because the rain hampered my first ride in Japan,” the 25-year-old commented. “It wasn’t the easiest day I’ll have because there is just so much to learn about riding a MotoGP bike fast, but my pace was good and I’m happy with my times.
“I’m happy with my performance and so are the team and it was good to start working with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew. I’m losing most of my time in just three points of the track but that is just down to experience.
“I had a small crash at the left-hander before the back straight. I think it must have been the wind because I had a slower corner speed and less brake pressure than before. But these things will happen when I’m on such a big learning curve.
“Lap times and position are not bothering at my moment. I just need to be getting laps in on the bike to build up my experience and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
It was a hugely encouraging display from Crutchlow as he was able to lap faster than Loris Capirossi and new Moto2 world champion Toni Elias, as well as fellow rookie Karel Abraham.