by Matt Shine |
The second half of the 2013 MotoGP World Championship got underway at the world famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway today, with Monster Yamaha Tech 3 riders Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith making an impressively fast return from a well deserved summer break.
Refreshed and raring to go after spending the three-week break relaxing in America, Crutchlow and Smith wasted no time in getting back in the groove on their YZR-M1 machinery to lap inside the top eight today.
Crutchlow was second fastest in cool and cloudy conditions in FP1 this morning, with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s notorious lack of grip and bumpy surface making it hard to work on a set-up for Sunday’s 27-lap race.
With more grip available and track temperatures increasing this afternoon, the British rider was able to improve his pace by 1.3s in FP2 to finish fifth fastest in an incredibly close fought session. Crutchlow’s best lap of 1.39.813 was just 0.311s off the best time set by World Championship leader Marc Marquez and the top 10 were covered by just over a second.
Rookie Smith enjoyed an outstanding return to action at the legendary Brickyard venue today and after impressing with 10th position in FP1, he shone again in the second 45-minute session.
Smith capitalised brilliantly on the improved track conditions to shave a massive 2.2s off his best time from this morning and a personal best of 1.40.240 moved him into eighth on the combined rankings.
Smith was just over 0.7s off the fastest pace and less than 0.2s behind nine-times World Champion Valentino Rossi’s factory YZR-M1 machine in sixth position.
Cal Crutchlow 5th 1.39.813 – 40 laps
“Overall it has been a good day because we know this is not the easiest track for Yamaha. All of us are quite close but I am sure we can make some improvements for the rest of the weekend. We tried a few different things on the bike and we need to find some more feeling from the front-end but it is a decent start and something to build on for tomorrow. This morning was quite tough because the track was so slippery and the bumps seem to be much worse then when we’ve been here before. And I don’t remember the change in asphalt being so difficult, but it is the same for everybody."
Bradley Smith 8th 1.40.240 – 41 laps
“It is great to be back on my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 machine again and I definitely felt the benefit of a good summer break with some good training out there today. I feel quite comfortable on this track and I don’t really have too many issues. Our base setting is in the ballpark but we can always make improvements and I am confident we can take some steps tomorrow. We know the track is going to continually improve now for the rest of the weekend, so it will be a case of adapting as the conditions change. But to be eighth is a great start for me and hopefully I can maintain that tomorrow to ensure I go immediately into QP2.”