Crutchlow and Smith relieved to have calm day

Crutchlow and Smith relieved to have calm day
Friday, 19 April 2013

Cal Crutchlow was sixth fastest on his first visit to Circuit of the Americas, completing both of the Friday practice sessions without issues after a dramatic start to the weekend for Monster Tech 3 Yamaha on Thursday.

In the early hours of Thursday, with both Tech 3 bikes and much equipment ready in the garage ahead of practice, an electric starter motor caught fire. This prompted the activation of the automatic sprinkler system, dousing the garage and everything inside it with a mixture of water and foam. This resulted in a significant cleanup operation as mechanics arrived later on Thursday morning.

"Firstly I want to say a huge thanks to my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew, management and staff at Yamaha and Dorna and COTA officials for helping us get out on track today," Crutchlow began. "The fire in the garage on Wednesday night wasn’t the ideal start to the weekend but my crew have worked non-stop to get everything ready for today and I am proud to work with them.

"Today was always going to be difficult because this track is really technical, difficult to learn, and you need time to be able to learn all the secrets to go fast. So to be sixth fastest and make such big progress is pleasing. We expected the gap to the front to be quite big and, honestly, I thought I’d be a little bit further away. I got held up a few times on my good laps too so I’m sure I could have gone a bit faster. This track is amazing with so many different challenges from hard braking, fast straights and lots of changes of direction. We still have a lot of work to do and it will be difficult to be near the front in the race. I need to improve in the braking area. We need to calm the bike down but to be the best of those that didn’t test here is all I can really ask for."

Teammate Bradley Smith was 13th, but is at least looking to move ahead of CRT riders Aleix Espargaro and Yonny Hernandez as practice continues on Saturday.

"It was great to finally be on track today and get a first taste of what is an amazing track but incredibly difficult to learn," the rookie admitted. "After the fire in the garage on Wednesday night my crew, and even my old team from Moto2, have been working flat-out to make sure we were ready. So just being on track felt like a big achievement today. This morning was very difficult because I have never ridden with such little grip and that doesn’t help you learn the track. Going into this afternoon where we did have grip, it took me a while to actually adapt to the track. We improved the bike and I felt much more comfortable at the end and we have a direction to follow for tomorrow morning."

Saturday’s third practice session, at the end of which the ten fastest riders from across practice will be promoted to Q2 Qualifying, starts at 9:55am local time (GMT -5).

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