Monster Yamaha's Cal Crutchlow set the fifth fastest time on the last day of MotoGP testing at Sepang but, crucially, was only half a second slower than quickest man Casey Stoner at a track the British rider has no love for.
The former World Supersport Champion was sitting pretty in third spot on a 2'00.986 before team-mate Andrea Dovizioso and Repsol Honda man Dani Pedrosa both conspired to urinate on his French fries. However, after doing a 12-lap run, Crutchlow is used to the way the new Bridgestones differ from the 2011-spec ones which caused him so many problems.
“I am really happy because the weather obviously played a big part the first two days but we were able to get some dry track time today and make some good progress with the bike. I like the new engine from Yamaha and credit to them because they have been working hard and the improvement bodes well for the start of the season," said Crutchlow.
"I'm happy with my lap time because this is not my favouritetrack at all and I am fifth fastest and very close to the top three. A major positive too is that I am very consistent and this is something that I have improved from last year. This gives me a lot of confidence and encouragement and I'm really enjoying riding the 1000cc bike. I did a long run of 12-laps and the new tyres were sliding around quite a bit.
"It made it very physical but quite good but it looks like tyre management is going to be more important than ever. The bike is working well at Sepang but now I'm curious to see how it performs in Jerez. That's a completely different track and the weather will be much cooler, so this will give us another indication of the potential of the bike.”