Cal Crutchlow was the fastest Yamaha at Sepang after the opening day’s practice for Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix but the Englishman continues to be hamstrung on the straights where he is losing the vast majority of his lap time.
Speaking after practice Crutchlow once again singled out the straight line speed of his Tech3 Yamaha as the major factor holding him back:
We’re slow [on the straights] and losing three tenths to the factory Yamaha’s on two straight lines and our bike is slow,” said Crutchlow. “The speed trap is inside the braking zone here so you can’t look at the speed trap and say that the bike is slow because [for example] Bradley brakes earlier than me so it looks like I’m faster than him but when we look at the data I’m three kmp/h slower and six or seven to Jorge and 12 to the Honda. Dani is unbelievable in the last section and because he is so small he can take a big advantage in this section. But he’s riding well on the other part of the track too!”
Crutchlow had a string of podium finishes in the opening half of the season but has struggled in recent races to recapture that form with his lower top speed clearly a factor however his arm injury, caused by his Silverstone crashes, also caused him problems today. Crutchlow is suffering from a very heavily bruised right forearm that has swollen this weekend and caused him a lot of discomfort and made it almost impossible for him to ride the bike this morning:
“I have a really bad problem this weekend with my arm and we don’t know what the matter is. It’s completely swelled up. I had no pain in Aragon with it and no pain at Misano it was just swollen but here I wasn’t even able to ride this morning. I flew in three days ago [so don’t think the flight caused it] but I’ve had an MRI on it and it’s shown that there is obviously some trauma but we don’t know what it is and won’t know until they open it up.”
When asked about his chances this of fighting for the podium this weekend the Englishman admitted that a lot of his hopes hinge on how his arm feels:
“Potentially we could be in the fight for the podium but it depends on how my arm is. I hope so but I think that we have a better chance at Philip Island and Motegi.”