Ducati’s Cal Crutchlow put in his best qualifying performance since the Assen MotoGP round today at Motorland Aragon, managing to take fifth place on the grid after finding six-tenths of a second in the first sector.
Crutchlow had been painfully slow in the first area all weekend but adjusted his approach to braking and tipping in to turn one, and found a chunk of time using the soft-compound Bridgestone to be less than a quarter of a second slower than Marc Marquez.
“Obviously I’m pleased to be on the second row, it’s my best qualifying since Assen. We deserved it, the team deserved it, and it hasn’t been for lack of trying all year. What I have been struggling with is sheer, outright pace over one lap and we managed to do it,” said Crutchlow.
“It was a strange feeling as I made a lot of mistakes in the lap because we were struggling in sector one all weekend. I think we have been the last of the Factory riders, or even Open class, 12th or 13th so on my first lap my dash said zero/zero again so I knew I hadn’t improved but then on my fast lap it said minus nearly six-tenths so I thought the dash as broken.
“I tried to read it three times and made three mistakes but when it went up again I knew I was on a good lap. I have been useless in that sector all weekend but we managed to take a chunk of time out.
“We are only losing two tenths on top speed which is better than yesterday. I need to find four tenths to be competitive with the other Ducatis on race pace, maybe a little more, but all that can some in sector one.
“I think it was a little bit to do with the soft tyre as the right hand side is obviously softer and we did gain some time there but I also gained in the braking into the first corner. The funny thing was I had no idea how I did it, I was just faster.
“We looked through the data and can understand more now. It seems that in the other laps I was tipping in early to stop the bike, aiming for the apex to scrub the speed off instead of going straighter and turn in later, so if we can do that every lap, it seems to be working better.”