Mir indicated Taka Nakagami as one of the favorites for Sunday’s GP, and Vinales added that, if the Hondas are up front, it’ll be difficult to overtake them. But only Cal Crutchlow offered true information on the condition of the RC213-Vs (and of those who ride them).
Cal, third at just three tenths from the combined, was very clear.
“I don’t think our bikes have improved. It’s always the rider who makes the difference. Every time we get some updates, people think who knows what but, actually, it’s the small things… electronics, a new shock absorber, and sometimes we use them and sometimes we don’t. We’re fast on this circuit but, last week, it was Alex who made the difference, and Taka was really fast today.”
How fast? Very, according to Crutchlow.
“If he’s able to keep the pace he had in the FP1, he’d win the GP with an eleven second advantage.”
Nakagami, who used soft front and medium rear tires, was still at 1.48 at lap 16, which is a very good time.
Like Alex Marquez said, Cal also confirmed that the Honda needs to be ridden aggressively.
“To be fast, that’s how you have to ride. There’s no other way,” he reaffirmed.
By now, there are those who are convinced that Nakagami could also be contending for the title, since Taka is 5th in the world championship at -29 points, with four races to go and 100 points at stake. That’s enough to talk about possible team orders. A topic that has already involved Ducati and Suzuki.
“Personally, I won’t help anyone but myself. I have nothing against Taka, but he’ll have to first get on the podium, and I think he will soon. Nobody asked me to help him and they probably won’t, also because I’d like to be ahead of him.”