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Heavy rain and tricky track conditions meant the start of the Gran Premio Iveco de Aragón was a challenging experience for Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow on Friday.
Dovizioso and Crutchlow were fifth and seventh fastest on the timesheets after wet weather conditions once again played a pivotal role in proceedings.
The pair didn't even leave the sanctuary of the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 garage in the morning's first session. Oil dropped on the track in the earlier Moto3 practice meant the session was delayed by one hour while track staff took part in a huge clean-up operation.
The afternoon session started with heavy rain falling on the technically challenging and undulating Motorland Aragon track, which gave Dovizioso and Crutchlow the opportunity to work on wet weather settings.
Both were able to log competitive times throughout the session that kept them firmly in contention for the top three, with Dovizioso eventually finishing in fifth position. The Italian rider posted a best time of 2:01.379s.
Crutchlow briefly led the session in the early stages as he expertly calculated how hard he could push in treacherous conditions right from the off. The British rider ended with a quickest lap of 2:01.665 and while he would have hoped to be closer to the pace of the top three, the 26-year-old is confident that if the adverse weather conditions continue tomorrow that he will be strong challenger for a position on the front row of the grid.
"I am happy with the set-up of the bike because there are no obvious problems to fix, although I'd like to improve the rear traction. I felt good when I tried to take some risks and push at the end of the session. The bike reacted how I wanted, so I am confident I have some margin to improve. I am close to the top and it is a good start to the weekend, even if we did lose another session this morning. The only thing I hope for the rest of the weekend is some dry track time before the race. I don't want to get to the race with no dry time to work on the set-up because then you are not fully prepared, so I hope whatever the conditions are tomorrow will be the same on Sunday."
"I am pleased with my pace in the full wet conditions as I was right near the top and confident I could have finished inside the top three. I had a small problem with the steering damper right at the end and without that I am sure I would have been much higher than seventh. We have to take another step tomorrow if the conditions are the same but I am confident I can be very competitive in the wet. The set-up of the bike is good and with some improvements if we have more rain tomorrow, I'll be looking to be back on the front row again. I hope the rest of the weekend though is dry and the fans can see a good race."
Press release courtesy of Monster Yamaha Tech 3
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