Cal Crutchlow of Great Britain and Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rounds the bend during the MotoGP Of Malaysia - Free Practice. (Photo: Getty Images)

of Great Britain and Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rounds the bend during the Of Malaysia – Free Practice. (Photo: Getty Images)

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Cal Crutchlow made a good start to the Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix on Friday, setting the third fastest time on the opening day of practice.

Sixth fastest in typically hot and humid conditions in Friday morning’s opening 45-minute session, Crutchlow was almost a second faster in FP2 to surge up the rankings into the top three behind Spanish duo Dani Pedrosa and World Championship leader Marc Marquez.

Crutchlow had struggled with pain in FP1 in the swollen right arm he first damaged at Silverstone, but he was able to ride in much less discomfort in FP2 and the improvement in his physical condition was reflected in his pace.

The 27-year-old posted a personal best time of 2’01.423 that secured him a top three slot by 0.115s ahead of factory Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi on a track offering excellent grip levels, despite heavy rain falling in between sessions.

“It was very difficult this morning to ride at my maximum level because I had some problems with the right arm I first injured during the recent British Grand Prix,” explained the English rider. “I already know I need surgery at the end of the season but until now the big impact my arm took at Silverstone has only given me bad swelling but no pain. This morning instead it hurt me a lot and couldn’t use the arm that well.”

He added, “Fortunately the afternoon session was much better and on my final run of the day we made a positive step and I am pleased to finish inside the top three. I was immediately faster the first time I put in a new tyre because for most of FP2 we worked on the set-up of the bike with worn tires I’d also used this morning.”