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After an incredibly tough winter recovering from ankle surgery, Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) returned to MotoGP™ action on Day 1 at the Sepang Test for the first time since FP2 at the Australian Grand Prix.
The three-time Grand Prix winner concluded the opening day in P14 as he reacquaints himself with his RC213V machine, finishing 1.069 off Marc Marquez’ (Repsol Honda Team) P1 time after completing 51 laps in total.
Crutchlow is back on track
“Yeah I feel good, it’s really nice to be back out there,” began Crutchlow. “It’s great to be back working with the LCR Honda Castrol team and HRC again in Malaysia. I thought it was going to be a difficult day, if I was honest about the feeling the first laps were so strange, I kind of thought I was doing a 2:01 and I was doing a 2:09 or a 2:08 or something like that.
“Yeah I don’t feel fantastic, but I feel like I can be competitive this season which is great,” continued the Honda rider. “I didn’t really push so much today, I worked on trying to understand my feeling of the bike again after so long off. The team did a great job with me today, they were patient with me with regards to my information and it seemed I got straight back into working how I would usually work but no I enjoyed it, I thoroughly enjoyed it and I’m confident if I needed to go one second quicker I could.”
Crutchlow didn’t try the 2019 spec RC213V until the afternoon, with the plan at first just to try and get to grips with a MotoGP™ machine again after over three months away.
“Yeah I got to ride it this afternoon, the plan was always for me to start on the 2018 bike anyway. And you know for familiarisation of riding because in honesty, in the first couple of runs I wasn’t even warming the tyres, so it was pointless me putting mileage on the 2019 bike straight away.”
Sepang Test: midday track action
Once he had a run out on the 2019 bike, the Briton confirmed he was happy with the work Honda have done so far: “I feel HRC have done a good job with that bike. We need to adjust the setting as usual and start to understand it a little bit more, it is different to what I’ve been used to, but yeah they’ve done a good job and I’m pleased with what they’ve done.”
Crutchlow will be back out for the second day of testing in Sepang, and you can keep up to date throughout the day on motogp.com.