Crutchlow has “never done a lap where I’m comfortable” on Yamaha MotoGP bike

Yamaha test rider Cal Crutchlow admits he has “never done a lap where I’m comfortable” on the M1 after ending his Aragon Grand Prix practice comeback 19th.

Crutchlow has “never done a lap where I’m comfortable” on Yamaha MotoGP bike

The three-time MotoGP race winner will see out the rest of the 2022 season in place of Andrea Dovizioso at RNF Racing, after the Italian retired from the series following the San Marino GP.

Crutchlow has been Yamaha’s official test rider since the end of his own racing career at the conclusion of 2020, though made four outings last year with the factory Yamaha squad and Petronas SRT.

The RNF stand-in ended Friday’s running at Aragon 19th on combined times, 1.1 seconds off the pace, but revealed to the media afterwards that at no point since becoming Yamaha’s test rider has he ever actually felt comfortable riding the M1.

“I honestly believe testing, everything, I could be half a second faster on this bike. I’m not comfortable on the Yamaha,” Crutchlow said when asked about handlebar adjustments he was making.

“I cannot get comfortable, I cannot find the right position for me on the bike. We’re like that at every test. We’re trying to move things… Dovi was exactly the same.

“When I got on the bike after riding the Honda for so long, I just thought it’s because [of that].

“But I can’t find a comfortable position. Either the handlebars are too far away, or they’re too close, when you brake you’re too far forward, but on acceleration you’re too far away.

“I’ve never, ever done one lap where I’m comfortable on the bike, and I think being comfortable on a motorbike is the first thing you need to be before you can start to do anything.

“So, I know my limitations on the bike. Fabio is in a great position on the bike with the way he feels.

“He doesn’t really want to change anything. I believe the ergonomics of the bike, also the shape of the bike, but Fabio is quite happy with the way everything feels. So why would they change it?”

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Fabio Quartararo, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Championship leader Fabio Quartararo was second-fastest on Friday at Aragon – a venue he is expecting to struggle at.

Crutchlow says the factory Yamaha rider is facing a “double hindrance” at Aragon due to the M1’s lack of top speed, and the fact that the bike struggles to turn at the “bogey” circuit.

“We’re struggling a little bit to turn the bike, which is a bit of a characteristic of the bike, especially here,” Crutchlow added.

“We do a lot more metres than what [other bikes do].

“From the outside everyone looks at the Yamaha and thinks it turns fantastic. And it does, normally.

“It’s a good turning bike, but here for some reason it’s just a bogey track with the amount of metres we do around the track.

“I don’t know [why]. I’ve done some laps around here, especially last year, you can change the bike in many ways and you do the same metres and you struggle to turn, especially in the last corner.

“And on the straight you lose a little bit, so that’s why I say Fabio is doing a great job. To be up there is not easy because he’s got a double hindrance I believe at this track. But mentally he’s so strong.”

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