Cal Crutchlow remained pleased with Saturday’s work despite qualifying 15th on the Monster Energy Yamaha ahead of the AragónGP.
Crutchlow failed to make it into Q2 through either the morning FP3 or the afternoon’s opening qualifying sessions, despite finishing Friday third in the times. The Brit, while continuing with his testing duties, was annoyed at his own performance but remained realistic that the work competed was important to the overall Yamaha game plan.
“We have also been experimenting here this weekend - maybe that's why our day today didn't go exactly to plan,” Crutchlow admitted from the MotorLand paddock on Saturday. “But as I said yesterday, I could have been 20th today. I was third yesterday, I could have been 20th today, so I'm quite happy with 15th. That's the reality of the situation.
“I'm not happy with my performance, personally, and I'm not happy with the mistake that I made in my qualifying because I just ran really, really wide in the last corner, and I should have been through to the Q2 from this. I should have done it this morning, honestly speaking, but I blame Fabio for that one this morning because I had him at the perfect marker on the lap that I was doing and then he braked so late in turn 12. He ran off the track and I also ran off the track but I kept my lap going so I've already told him it's his fault. I was not so happy with him, so then in FP4 obviously I tried to take us both out - no I'm only joking!
“I didn't get it done this morning. I did a great lap-time this morning with a ’47.3, which was not good enough. 1'47.3 last year put me on the front row of the grid here. I can't ask for anything more and that's the reality. These guys are going so fast, with the amount of time, experience and stuff that they've got with these tyres, these bikes this year.
“I think I'm doing a good job. So, along with the testing stuff that we're doing, it’s working out very well. I'm pleased, the team is pleased and it's nice to be able to be riding and in two weeks I will test again. So this is a positive, because now I have reference, I have speed. I have bike fitness again, it's worked very well for all of this.
“Yeah, this will be my last race,” the Brit confirmed.
“Until something else happens and I have to come back again," he laughed. "My situation is that obviously I'm the replacement rider. Franky, from what I understand, he didn't feel well on the bike when he rode it last time, which was about a week or something like that, and then he's rode in the last days and feels a lot better. But I'm not going to replace somebody halfway through a race weekend because for me this is pointless. I'm not the kind of guy also to go and stand around the racetrack if somebody is injured. I don't mean that bad. I'm the test rider, I'm doing my job here, racing but I also have some important tests coming up. If I was to have to race next weekend and they say 'Okay you are racing and riding in FP1', it's different story. We've got to race but this is a different scenario.
“This will be my last race that I will attend as such. What I feel is, of course these races have really helped me get back up to some sort of speed of being a good test rider. I always felt quite comfortable in that role anyway, when I was racing for Honda I did most of the testing when I was racing, and at the tests, which was very, very important stuff.”
Yesterday found Jack Miller praising Crutchlow’s performance at the top of the timesheets, today it seems it’s the other way round.
“It takes a lot to impress me but I was impressed by their last sector, because this is where they gained,” he admitted when discussing the Ducatis’ domination of qualifying.
“Fabio was up and he lost in the last sector. So, if you see the way they're riding the bike, all a completely different style - Bagnaia a lot of corner speed, a lot of lean angle. It's completely different style but it shows because Jack rides a completely different style and he also did a fantastic last sector as well. So yes, obviously their bike is working very well. I don't know how they gained so much speed in one lap, in one sector, because they don't gain it like this in the average lap. They're not always the fastest in the last sector and to me is difficult to understand why they gain so much in one sector when they want.
“Maybe they have a rocket for a lap or something but sure, they are very strong. They are very strong riders as well so this is why Ducati are going fast.”