Cal Crutchlow never lets anyone forget that he’s riding has an ‘old version’ of the Yamaha M1, but the Yamaha Tech3 rider was still blistering fast when it come to doing a flying lap and that was enough to push him into second.
Both Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi admitted that the British rider can be real podium threat if he learns to be little more patient and improves his consistency.
Even Repsol Honda’s Livio Suppo said that sometimes its the rider that makes the difference.
Check out what the rest of the riders had to say following the first free practice in Qatar Cal Crutchlow – 2nd “It was a very good first session on a personal level with me finishing second and also for Yamaha with a clean sweep of the top three.
As is always the case on the first night in Qatar the track was quite dirty, particularly off the racing line.
Even on the racing line it was quite slippery but I am happy to be right in the mix from the start.
We need to make some changes to the bike for tomorrow because I felt we had too much weight transfer on braking and acceleration but I’ve got to be happy to finish in second and ending up in between Jorge and Valentino.
Second place is great but I am not reading too much into it.
As the track conditions improve some of the rest will get faster and it is still going to be very tough to be on the podium.
I am looking forward to the race and being so competitive from the start certainly gives my confidence another lift and helps me carry on the momentum gained in testing.
” Alvaro Bautista – 6th “Unfortunately I wasn’t in the best shape tonight because as the laps went by there was more and more pressure on the fingers I broke at Jerez.
As usual here in Qatar the track conditions were not ideal on the first night and the first few laps in particular were a struggle but overall it hasn’t been a bad start for us.
Hopefully the track improves tomorrow and the changes we have planned for the bike help us make that step forward in quality that will get us closer to the front and help us to improve on last year’s performance here.
”Stefan Bradl – 7th “Actually the 7th position was not our target but I feel better than what is on the paper.
When we changed the front setting it took me some time to adapt but at the end I found my rhythm.
Our weak point is the braking area and we spotted the same issues of Jerez pre-season test so I missed some confidence in the braking areas right now.
However I am quite sure that we can improve the package before tomorrow and this makes me really happy with this first day of practices.
We do have the potential to improve our pace and our position on this track”.
Aleix Espargaró – 19th“I am really happy, I don’t even know myself where that performance came from tonight.
The bike worked perfectly and it allowed me to ride with ease and the more I saw the lap times drop the more I wanted to push.
I was able to follow the factory bikes around certain parts of the track, which is something that has never happened before.
Clearly the new ART is working even better than last year, it is more nimble and it is helping me a lot in the direction changes.
The engine has a bit more grunt, especially at the top end and the feeling here is even better than it was in Malaysia and Jerez.
Anyway, it is only the first session and we have to keep our feet on the ground.
As usual on the first night here at Losail the track was very dirty and we will need to adapt our set-up as the grip improves over the next couple of days.
”Bradley Smith – 11th “I’m really happy with my performance in my very first practice session in MotoGP.
It’s nice just to get rid of the initial nerves and tension that has been building up as you get ready for the beginning of the season.
With such little time on track in 45 minutes we didn’t tweak the bike too much.
I just wanted to get familiar with the track because the lines and braking points are completely different to what I am used to in Moto2.
Being on track with the rest of the field at the same time helps because I can pick up some pointers and I’ll watch a video of the session again to understand where I can improve and be faster for FP2 and FP3, where it will be important to finish in the top 10 for the new qualifying format.
I’m satisfied with my posit ion though and I am not a million miles behind Nicky and 1.
6s off the best pace is the closest I have been since I first rode this bike, so that shows I am moving in the right direction.
”Andrea Iannone – 12th“I had to stop immediately after the first lap because we had a problem with the gear lever, but the guys were very quick to address the issue and I didn’t lose too much time.
I have a completely new feeling with the bike on this track, and I feel a little bit lost.
During the first part of the session, I couldn’t find the right braking point.
I’m happy anyway, and tomorrow I hope to improve my pace.
”Ben Spies – 13th“Today is Thursday, and it’s good to get the first session out of the way.
We weren’t exactly where we wanted to be, but for the first time I felt good on the bike and was having fun.
I had different feelings.
The shoulder is getting better for sure, but I’m trying to take it easy and not go too crazy after not having a great testing season.
We still have work to do, but our speed was okay for the first session, and I’m happy about it.
” Randy De Puniet – 15th “I was looking forward to the season starting but to be honest my feeling with the bike wasn’t what I expected in this first session.
I have struggled to get a feel for the front end and I’m not sure why but I just couldn’t brake where I wanted to.
I was having to brake early to stop myself from running wide and that affected my corner speed.
The positive side is that it’s only the first session, we still have a lot of work ahead of us and the track was very dirty tonight so maybe that was the root of the problem.
”Bryan Staring – 22nd “There was a lot for me to get used to tonight, a new track and the first time under lights.
It wasn’t easy and to be honest I am not really happy because I know that I can ride a lot faster, especially when the track conditions improve.
Tonight there was virtually no grip but we have to stay upbeat and keep working with the team to improve the situation.