Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso kicked off their final preparations for the 2012 MotoGP World Championship with a positive and productive first day of testing at the Jerez circuit in Spain.
Crutchlow continued his outstanding winter testing form to set the fifth fastest time on Yamaha's impressive new YZR-M1 1000cc machine. Evaluating different set-up options to improve stability on acceleration, the British rider's best time of 1.40.130 ensured he was the quickest non-factory team rider and he was less than 0.2s behind factory Yamaha rider Ben Spies.
Having made only one previous visit to the Jerez track in his career, Crutchlow completed a marathon stint of 74-laps to build-up his experience of the circuit. He also managed to gather vital information on Bridgestone's hard compound rear tyre option, improving his feeling and confidence throughout to continue the momentum gained in two morale-boosting test sessions at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia.
Dovizioso, who celebrated his 26th birthday today, was eighth quickest but the Italian was unable to show his true potential having been struck down by a stomach bug overnight.
The illness meant Dovizioso was forced to ride in considerable discomfort during the day but he was still able to complete 46-laps and gain more experience of riding Yamaha's YZR-M1 machine. A quickest time of 1.40.665 put him eighth on the time sheets and less than 0.2s away from the top six. He is confident with a good night's rest he will be in better physical shape to post a more competitive pace tomorrow.
Cal Crutchlow 5th 1.40.130 – 74 laps:
“Today was a positive start to the test and important for me to carry on the momentum we gained in Sepang. I did a lot of laps but I have to do that because this is only my second time at this track and I need to gain some experience so I am in the best shape possible when we return for the race next month. We have made really good progress with the set-up of the bike today and it is good that we have come to a completely different style track compared to Sepang and the bike is working well. We are always looking to improve and the bike is still a bit of a handful to manage exiting the corner, but a real positiv e is that I did my best time today on the hard rear tyre. Last year on the 800 I could never really use the hard tyre, so I'm pleased about that because today I only did five laps on the soft tyre. Another big plus is my consistency. We talked about improving that over the winter and I've definitely improved in doing more constant times, so it has been a really productive start to the test.”
Andrea Dovizioso 8th 1.40.665 – 46 laps:
“I was really looking forward to starting this test today because it is a very important three days for me. It is my birthday too and I was looking forward to gaining more experience with the Yamaha. This morning though was not easy because I didn't have the same good feeling with the bike as I did at the last test in Sepang. Thanks to my Tech 3 crew we found a much better setting but unf ortunately I wasn't able to exploit it because of my physical condition. I had some problem with my stomach and I had zero energy and I am sorry I could only make 46-laps. The most positive point of the day was some new electronics I tried which helped stability exiting the corner. But we can still improve more in this area. I am not worried about the gap to the front because I didn't feel in a good enough physical condition to push hard.”
source: Yamaha Tech3 Official