Cal Crutchlow rues 'tactical error' with Honda in Malaysia practice

Cal Crutchlow lamented a "tactical error" to help Honda late in opening Malaysian Grand Prix practice that means he is likely to have to navigate Saturday's first phase of qualifying

Cal Crutchlow rues 'tactical error' with Honda in Malaysia practice

The Australian GP winner led the way early in the second half of the session and was third with 10 minutes remaining, but ultimately bungled down to 13th in the order.

Crutchlow put that down to a decision to help Honda on his final run, as part of his and his LCR team's relationship with the factory.

While Crutchlow was second-fastest in practice two, times were affected by rain beforehand with slicks only becoming viable at the end, and he remains 13th in the combined order.

"Obviously today we are very disappointed to be outside the top 10, when I'm sure we have the pace to be in the top three," he said.

"We didn't change the tyre this morning and I was unable to go faster in my last run, because we were trying something for Honda that we had agreed to try.

"We made a bit of a tactical error and this afternoon was then wet.

"I went out with the slick to see if I was able to push, but it didn't dry up enough."

Crutchlow's 2m09.271s on Friday afternoon was more than seven seconds slower than Jorge Lorenzo, the Yamaha rider occupying 10th in the combined times and the final guaranteed Q2 place.

More rain is forecast for Saturday and Sunday, and if that is a factor during third practice on Saturday morning, Crutchlow will have to contest the first phase of qualifying.

While that would be his seventh Q1 appearance of the year, Crutchlow topped the session last Saturday at Phillip Island and then qualified second for the race he won.

"It also looks like tomorrow morning will be wet so it's going to be difficult to go directly into Q2 - where we should be," he added.

"Let's see what tomorrow brings. We have to remain positive and go through the motions with the team tonight to improve things on the bike and then we will see how qualifying goes."

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