Crutchlow: Fast, consistent, tyre choice regrets

Cal Crutchlow spends most on Monday’s test at Jerez on Michelin’s hard rear tyre; still seeking the front-end confidence he felt with Honda’s 2018 RC213V.
Crutchlow: Fast, consistent, tyre choice regrets

Cal Crutchlow felt his speed at Monday’s MotoGP test at Jerez meant he should “be disappointed” with his Spanish Grand Prix showing as it proved he had opted for the wrong rear tyre compound ahead of the race.

The Englishman was one of only two riders to choose Michelin’s medium rear for Sunday’s 25-lap affair. His extensive track time on the hard compound a day later, when he “felt good, felt fast”, proved his choice was wrong.

At the close of eight hours of testing, Crutchlow was second on the timesheets, the fastest of the four Hondas, and bettered only by the prodigious Fabio Quartararo.

“Honestly, all day we weren't testing anything new. I'm really pleased with today, the problem is that there's no points for a Monday test at Jerez, so we have to still be disappointed with our result yesterday.

“Obviously, cautious with regard to our pace today, the track is in good condition. But it's apparent that we chose the wrong tyre yesterday. I spent all day on the hard tyre. I tested my race tyre back-to-back with a new compound medium from Michelin, and I did my fastest lap on the new medium.

“The problem is our pace was really consistent with the hard, all day I felt good, I felt fast. But I didn't pick it yesterday in the race. It was my choice, my decision, and we have to live and learn.

“But overall today, we found a bit of a better setting for me it seems. I tried it over the weekend, but not as extreme, and sort of towards what I had at the end of last year when I was able to be consistent and to be fast and near the podium, and I felt good today.”

Through 2019 Crutchlow has struggled to find a good feeling with the front end of his current bike. On Monday he said he was still some way off the comfort he enjoyed on the ’18 chassis, a thought confirmed by team-mate Takaaki Nakagami’s corner speed on the ’18 RC213V.

“I still don't get it, I still don't get the same feeling as the 2018 chassis, and we need to work on that. But it's not going to come through setting. Unfortunately, we're not on the 2018 chassis as such, we're on something that fits more the 2019 engine, and the feeling is just a little bit different.

“I don't have the confidence in the front that I had last year, or that Taka has got in his bike. And in the middle of a lot of the fast corners here, Taka is faster than all the Honda riders, and that's because of the chassis he's on.

“But no real complaints today, nothing to be really excited about either, but we were fast, and positive, and I felt good.

“Overall, the pace was good. I feel fast, I went way under my pole position time, which was 1m 36.7s, I wanted to take my pole record back, but Quartararo was faster, and that's it. He's also 12 years younger than me!

“But he's done a great job all weekend, and it's good to see, it's good to see these other guys in the mix. But like we said last night and sat in our meeting, there's 12 guys that can be stood on the podium, and I finished eighth yesterday."

What of his chances at Le Mans? “Always looking forward to the next race, especially after building on this one. Texas, I had a good feeling and was able to be fast, but I crashed in the race.

“Here I had a bad feeling all weekend but today I have a good feeling, so I have to be confident to go to Le Mans. It's not a circuit that I really go well at or particularly like, but I'm optimistic to be challenging at the front.”