Cal Crutchlow pins Catalunya Grand Prix podium hopes on tyre choice
|By Toby Moody and Sam Tremayne||Saturday, June 2nd 2012, 19:52 GMT|
Cal Crutchlow hopes his decision to use a softer rear tyre, and his experience with handling the rear slicks when they degrade, will pay dividends in the Catalunya Grand Prix.
While much of the field remains split over the decision between the soft and hard rear compound, Crutchlow had already declared the soft is his preferred choice.
Starting from third behind Casey Stoner and Jorge Lorenzo, the Tech 3 Yamaha rider says his objective will be to stay with the front runners until the final eight laps, when he expects tyre degradation to start impacting seriously on lap time.
"This morning I only used an old soft rear tyre and I was still really fast, so I knew when I put in a new soft rear this afternoon that I could be much quicker. I got in a good lap even though I'm not completely comfortable with the set-up and I will definitely run the hard front and soft rear for the race," Crutchlow said.
"These tyres drop and drop, but for a while the lap-time stays the same, [and] the hard doesn't give a big advantage over race distance.
"I feel I have an advantage when the tyre is sliding round because I have been used to it for so many years, so I want to make sure is that I can stay with [the frontrunners] at the start of the race.
"When it comes to the final eight laps everyone struggles, so if we are there we can definitely do a better job than some of the others."
Crutchlow has qualified on the front row twice previously this year, but on both occasions has narrowly missed out on the podium. He said a rostrum could again prove difficult at Barcelona given how close the lead riders' race pace has proved.
"Jorge's got better pace than anyone else I would say, but if you look at race pace everyone is the same," he explained. "I know there is half a second between Nicky [Hayden] and [Andrea] Dovi[zioso] on the grid, but the guys have the same race pace, they just didn't pull a lap out.
"Dani [Pedrosa] will definitely be up there and Ben [Spies] has good race pace too, so it will be difficult to be on the podium. Hopefully I can do the same job tomorrow when it really counts."