Last year's breakthrough rider in MotoGP, Cal Crutchlow, returned to strong form last week during the second day of testing at Sepang despite riding a Yamaha that is further from factory spec than his satellite M1 in 2012.
Crutchlow ended up third on the time sheets. His top lap of 2:00.907 was .625 of a second behind the mind-melting pace of leader Jorge Lorenzo's Yamaha but only .256 of a second behind Dani Pedrosa's Honda.
Even though Crutchlow has a bigger equipment disadvantage to the factory this season, his boost in form was reported to be because he had borrowed Lorenzo's fork setup to prevent the front end of his bike from lifting under acceleration.
"I'm happy with my pace because we've tried a couple of different settings, and we need to work on fine-tuning the best one," Crutchlow said. "The main goal has been trying to stop the front of the bike lifting so much when I change direction on the throttle. The bike feels quite heavy, so we need to reduce how much the fork comes up without sacrificing too much in another area like the braking."
Yamaha has, for years, has a variety of solutions for a light front end. They have in the past used a relatively heavier front axle when trying to keep the front end down on acceleration. However, in modern MotoGP, discouraging the front end from wheelying is usually accomplished by the anti-wheelie component of the traction control system.
Are Crutchlow's comments about "Lorenzo's settings" an indication that his M1 has been upgraded to the latest spec traction control or the 2013 Ohlins forks?
Crutchlow himself said he wondered what spec M1 he would be on in 2013 after Rossi came back into the Yamaha fold. His speed at Sepang may be an indication that his M1 may be closer to the factory Yamaha than he originally feared.