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Crutchlow quickest in final pre-season test

Crutchlow quickest in final pre-season test

Britain’s Cal Crutchlow moved atop the timesheets as MotoGP™ pre-season testing drew to a close in Jerez on Monday. The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider led the way from Yamaha Factory Racing duo Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo.

The third and final day brought yet more rain, although a dryer period in the second half allowed for some much desired laps on Slicks. Crutchlow was quickest before being demoted, but returned to the top in the closing stages; his best effort of 1’39.511 was the fastest of the three days in Spain, with Rossi just 14 thousandths of a second slower. In fact, no more than 29 thousandths covered the top three runners.

At Factory Yamaha Racing, the pair of MotoGP World Champions worked with an updated chassis – in contrast with Crutchlow who has had few new components to test over the pre-season period. Breaking into the top three on the final day was LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl, who finishes fifth overall, although the German was one of several riders to hit trouble over the course of the test with a crash on Sunday afternoon. Álvaro Bautista was another and on Monday the GO&FUN Honda Gresini man was unable to ride at all, following a crash and consequent hand and knee injuries the previous evening.

Fourth overall was Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa, who – happy with his bike and witnessing more rain on Monday morning – soon decided to end his test early. The two Repsol bikes sandwiched Bradl who was striving to fine-tune an optimum dry weather setup, with 2013 newcomer Marc Márquez sixth from Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso.

Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team’s Andrea Iannone, Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden and aforementioned Bautista completed the top ten from Ducati test rider Michele Pirro, assessing an assortment of new parts.

Randy de Puniet had ended Sunday somewhat annoyed, having already encountered numerous problems before crashing and suffering burns. On a more positive note, the French Power Electronics Aspar rider does finish the test as the leading CRT runner and two places ahead of teammate and reigning class champion Aleix Espargaró. Between the pair of ARTs is the second Tech 3 bike of English rookie Bradley Smith, who aims to dial out riding errors during his maiden MotoGP campaign.

Héctor Barberá led the Avintia Blusens charge from 15th spot, but it was a rather frustrating test as new FTR parts arrived at the circuit late due to the ongoing snow-caused travel chaos in the United Kingdom. 16th was NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Claudio Corti from Came IodaRacing Project’s Danilo Petrucci, evaluating his 2013 chassis for the first time. Out of position on the final timesheet is Ben Spies, who – still recovering from his crash in last year’s Malaysian Grand Prix – finishes in 18th position for Ignite Pramac Racing Team and did not run at all on the final day.

Avintia’s Hiroshi Aoyama racked up plenty of wet weather running (his first on the FTR) en route to 19th position, ahead of Czech rookie Lukáš Pešek’s Ioda and Cardion AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham, who has converted from a prototype to a CRT chassis for the 2013 season. This week’s 25-bike field is completed by PBM’s Yonny Hernández, Gresini’s Bryan Staring, Forward’s Colin Edwards – who today focused on electronics work – and Michael Laverty. The former British Superbike rider continued to dial in the own-built PBM bike, but on Monday saw his agenda briefly interrupted by having to pull over with a locked up rear brake.

At the end of this year’s pre-season period the pack is separated by 2.9 seconds, which compared to last year’s margin brings the pack over a second closer together. The top ten is also more bunched up, with the 2012 gap of 1.3 seconds having now been reduced to 1.1

The 2013 MotoGP™ season will begin under lights, with the Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar. The first track action starts on Thursday 4th April.

See full timesheets for the Jerez MotoGP™ test.

MotoGP, 2013

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