Guest Blog: Mat Oxley: Crutchlow on top as MotoGP testing ends is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We will be featuring sections of Oxley's blogs, posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website, over the coming months.

When someone once congratulated Eddie Lawson for being fastest in practice, the four-time 500 World Champion shrugged his shoulders and said “you don’t get points for practice”. He was right, of course, and it’s the same with testing: no points, no prize money, no nothing, save for a faint feeling of satisfaction.

Certainly, Cal Crutchlow must have left Jerez on Monday evening wearing a faint glimmer of a smile on his face after topping the final pre-season tests.

Sure, conditions weren’t ideal, with just a couple of hours of dry track time on the last day of the three-day session, but his lap time was good, two tenths inside the lap record, and on last year’s ‘bike, too. It put him a fraction ahead of factory Yamaha riders Valentino Rossi, one hundredths down on Crutchlow, and Jorge Lorenzo, another hundredth down, both of them on their 2013 YZR-M1s.

Crutchlow looked good at Jerez. He still has the burning aggression that makes him such a joy to watch, but he’s learned to smooth things out, which is what you need to make the Yamaha go absolutely as fast as it will go. That’s what Lorenzo does, which is why mantequilla (Spanish for butter, as in buttery smooth) is his MotoGP maxim.

Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.

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Good article and some comments folks need to be reminded of. The riders are not following the same regiments in testing. Some are testing new bits (Lorenzo, Rossi), others are 100% working on setting because they have no new parts to test (Crutchlow), and some are just learning how to ride a MotoGP bike (Marquez, Smith). No regiments are the same so comparing times between riders, isn't black and white. Much like rider rankings midseason, they just don't tell the whole story. Midseason, a rider could be riding hurt, or the bike sorely underdeveloped, or a host of other factors, that the championship rankings just don't state. Even in testing, the times really can't be compared so black and white. There is a lot to this sport that a #1 - 20 just doesn't reveal. This is something the casual observer just doesn't understand.

Thanks David and Mat for a good article.

I just love rooting for the underdog. Here's hoping Cal's Tech 3 2012 version M1 is not sallied by the abominable failures of Spies' 2012 factory incarnation.
Mat's got it about right though. The M1 is a 'silky' bike and smooth is definitely fast with that piece of kit. One cool head required. I hope Cal finds it by the bucket load this season. No better sight than seeing a racer on 2nd tier kit upstaging the official rider's kitted out with the latest and greatest options at their disposal. Rider's like Crutchlow,Bradl and Bautista enjoy not much in the media right now. A Qatar shake up race is not likely against the full factory outfits however. Ducati an aside for obvious reasons as emphasised by Karel Abraham.
As ever an enjoyable read.

Definitely cal is a fast rider and he has many tough fights with dovi last year which was the only interesting thing to watch last year as far as i am concerned. He is also very frank in his opinion about his or other rider's potential (especially) which is welcome since many riders don't speak freely what the feel.

At this test he was very fast against factory guys but we have to remember that he has last years settings for this track available while factory guys were just setting up, they even had a new frame to test and those things take time to dial in properly.By the time he gets the '13 machine 2 or 3 races down the line the factory guys will be 0.5-0.7 in the front but i wish him all the best for this season.His fight with bradl will be interesting to watch, will bradl have an edge now with factory support or will cal go all out? let the season begin.