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Crutchlow and Smith satisfied with solid start

Monster Yamaha Tech3 riders Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith made a good start on the opening day of practice at the spectacular Phillip Island track in Australia.

The British pair took full advantage of favourable weather conditions and a smooth new surface offering excellent grip levels to set competitive times at the start of the 16th round of the 2013 MotoGP World Championship.

A strong and unpredictable wind blowing off the nearby Bass Strait did not prevent Crutchlow from comfortably lapping under Nicky Hayden’s 2008 lap record of 1’30.059, the 27-year-old setting a personal best pace of 1’29.667 under clear blue skies.

That was good enough to place Crutchlow, who is scheduled to make his 50th MotoGP start in Sunday’s 27-lap race, sixth on the combined timesheets on a day that ended with the top six all under lap record pace.

“Today was a good start to the weekend and I am satisfied to be in the top six,” he stated. “It was obvious that the new track surface is a big improvement and they have done a really good job in making it smooth with a lot of grip. A few of us were consistently under the lap record with a similar pace and hopefully tomorrow I can improve to be a bit higher up.”

Just one place below Crutchlow on the timesheet was teammate Smith, who made a confident start to his first taste of the Phillip Island circuit on a 1000cc MotoGP machine.

Smith wasted no time in getting up to speed in this morning’s FP1, with a best lap of 1’30.361 leaving him just 0.231s behind Crutchlow.

The 22-year-old improved his pace to a 1’30.165 in this a blustery FP2 session and that secured him seventh on the leaderboard and the third best time set by a non-factory rider.

“The first day here in Phillip Island has been better than my Friday performances in recent races and I am happy about that,” acknowledged Smith.

“This morning my feeling with the bike was really good and the new surface gave me a lot of confidence with the Bridgestone tyres and I could push a lot. We tried a couple of things with the bike to find a good direction for tomorrow and we are moving in the right way and that’s good.”

Tags:
MotoGP, 2013, Bradley Smith, Cal Crutchlow, Monster Yamaha Tech 3

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