World Superbike convert Cal Crutchlow has had his first taste of the MotoGP Yamaha in a test at the company's Fukuroi track.
The 24-year-old British rider is stepping up to the Tech 3 Yamaha MotoGP team next season to take the seat made available by Ben Spies' switch to the factory squad. Crutchlow will get his first run with Tech 3 in next month's official tests at Valencia, but was able to notch up some early mileage on the Yamaha M1 during one and a half days of running in mixed conditions in Japan yesterday and today.
"The M1 felt a lot smaller than my Yamaha R1 superbike," he said. "I actually found the positioning more comfortable than the WSB machine. There is a lot of power but it feels very usable, it felt very different to a production-based machine in terms of its delivery.
"In the wet we used the normal steel brakes, but when it started to dry I had a chance to try the carbon ones which were cool, I managed to get quite comfortable with them. I found the chassis very stiff, it was really easy to change direction and the electronics were really different, even more advanced than the high level I'm used to in Superbike.
"It was a shame the weather wasn't great so I wasn't able to push to the bike's full potential, I'm really looking forward to the Valencia test so I can get back on it and give it a proper workout."
Crutchlow is making his MotoGP move after finishing fifth in what proved to be his sole full World Superbike season with Yamaha's works team. He will be paired with veteran Colin Edwards at Tech 3 next year.