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Crutchlow and Smith make a decent start

Crutchlow and Smith make a decent start

The most important weekend of the season for British riders Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith got off to an acceptable start at Silverstone on Friday.

Crutchlow demonstrated his determination to be the first British rider since 2000 to finish on the premier class podium at the British round of the World Championship, when he made a strong start to the day by ending FP1 in third position.

Lap times tumbled in warmer conditions in FP2 and, while Crutchlow was able to knock over one and a half seconds off his best pace, he slipped down the timesheet to sixth, though he was less than on tenth behind fourth-placed Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini).

"This morning wasn’t too bad and I was satisfied to be in the top three, but it was a bit more a struggle in FP2," Crutchlow explained. "We were trying the bike with different settings and at the moment I’ve not made a decision on which is the direction to go. I need to improve in two sectors to be faster and more competitive and one area we need to work on is front end grip, because I had too much wheelie. We will have a good look at the data tonight to make sure I’m stronger tomorrow."

For Crutchlow’s Monster Yamaha Tech3 rookie teammate Smith, it was of course a first experience of the long and technical Silverstone layout on a MotoGP machine.

The 22-year-old was ninth fastest in the morning and in FP2 quickened from a 2’05.108 best time to 2’03.750 - that major improvement promoting him into eighth on combined times and reducing the gap to P1 to just over one second.

"It was a positive day because I found a good setting this morning and then it was a case of tweaking it to suit this track," stated Smith. "For the first time all season I have tried all the tyre options for the front and rear in one day, so we have evaluated a lot and got a clear way to follow for the rest of the weekend.

"This track is certainly designed for MotoGP. It is so fast and open that you really get to explore the bike’s full potential. I will enjoy riding the YZR-M1 this weekend and as I get faster I am sure it will be even more fun."

Heading to Silverstone, Crutchlow and Smith are placed fifth and 11th overall.

MotoGP, 2013, HERTZ BRITISH GRAND PRIX, Bradley Smith, Cal Crutchlow, Monster Yamaha Tech 3

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