Cal Crutchlow struggled to the 13th fastest time on the opening night of his first race weekend as a Ducati rider. However the Englishman is confident of making big strides during the double track time on Friday.
So much about how a MotoGP bike performs is dictated by the electronics package and Crutchlow commented that power delivery was the biggest issue holding him back.
“At the end of the day we didn’t expect anything different,” said Crutchlow, whose Ducati team – like the Factory Honda and Yamaha teams – did not attend the recent Qatar test due to an alternative outing for Bridgestone in Australia.
“We knew that not testing here was a massive disadvantage and because of it we would get hammered by everyone. Our bike takes a lot of setting up so tonight I was riding around with quite a few problems, power delivery more than anything.
“Electronically this bike needs one session and then normally in the next session it’s a lot better. I expect to make improvements tomorrow but you have to get used to the track. There’s a big difference to the other guys [that tested here] and we should never have gone to Australia.”
When asked what exactly was the problem with the power delivery, Crutchlow stated that it was mostly due to engine mapping.
“In some corners the power delivery was way too high, in others way too low. On some straights there wasn’t enough, on others there was way too much. This bike just needs some time to set-up and working off Iannone’s reference wasn’t possible. But it shows when he’s fourth and a second faster than me and Dovi how much track time that we needed here. But I’m optimistic and tomorrow is a completely new day and we’ll come out tomorrow with a very different setting.”
The new ‘heat resistant’ Bridgestone tyres have again come under scrutiny with factory Yamaha star Jorge Lorenzo particularly struggling with the new construction on Thursday. Crutchlow also admitted that he was lacking grip.
“I don’t like the heatproof stuff on the tyre; it’s ridiculous. We had no problem here with safety for blistering here and we have no problem at most of the circuits, last year we ran the heatproof twice at Indianapolis and Sachsenring, so why we are running it at every race? The old tyre suited everyone, this tyre suits a couple of riders so it’s difficult.
“I hear that it’s difficult for Lorenzo and we ride similar and keep the [lean] angle for a long time and we don’t have enough grip with the Ducati to pick it up and drive it out so we’re in the shit even more with this.
“But the tyre is the tyre so we have to make the bike work with this. We’ve got no grip but at the end of the day I won’t turn around to Bridgestone because everyone is on the same tyre and we need to make it work on the Ducati and that is it, that’s a fact.
“It’s not about saying that we need to change the tyre, we need to make the bike work on it.”
Although Ducati are remaining in the Factory MotoGP class, they currently have the same fuel, tyre, engine and testing concessions as the Open riders.