Cal Crutchlow warmed up for his final appearance in the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team in Valencia with a pacey performance and a crash in practice at the tight and twisty Ricardo Tormo track.
In sunny and warm conditions in FP1, Crutchlow was an seventh fastest with a quickest pace of 1’32.434 that left him 0.052s outside the top six.
A strong breeze had picked up in advance of the afternoon’s second 45-minute session, but Crutchlow impressively slashed almost a second off his pace to surge up the rankings into fourth position, courtesy of a lap of 1’31.503.
Only Spanish trio Marc Marquez, Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo lapped faster than the 28-year-old, who is hoping to mount a podium challenge in his last appearance for the French-based Monster Yamaha Tech 3 squad in front of a sell-out crowd on Sunday.
Crutchlow walked away unhurt from a crash on his last lap at Turn 11 to finish just 0.124s outside of the top three and 0.282s away from the best lap posted by Marquez, as he once again led the non-factory challenge in Valencia.
He commented, "I am happy with my start to the weekend because this afternoon I made a big improvement and I felt fast and strong in FP2. I am disappointed that I crashed right at the end of this afternoon’s session. I didn’t have a bad feeling with the bike but I was trying to improve the bike in the corners and I lost the front. I was trying to roll through the corner faster but obviously I have found the limit."
"But it was a very positive session and I am in the top four and being so close to that Spanish trio gives us a lot of confidence for the rest of the last weekend. My crew did a great job again today and this is a difficult weekend knowing I am leaving after this race. But that makes me even more determined to ensure the last race is a positive one and we can end a brilliant time together on a high."