Cal Crutchlow had highlighted LCR Honda team-mate Takaaki Nakagami's peerless race pace after Friday practice for the Teruel MotoGP.

And the Englishman remains convinced that the Japanese - who stormed to a debut MotoGP pole position - is in a class of his own for 'average pace' heading into Sunday.

While qualifying caught the Saturday headlines, Nakagami - yet to finish on the premier-class podium - was also second quickest in both FP3 and FP4, again setting a consistently high pace on used medium front and soft rear tyres.

"Is that a serious question?!" Crutchlow replied, when asked if Nakagami was still the man to beat. "I looked at the lap times after FP1 and told you all the situation. All you need to do is pin together the sectors he does on used tyres etc to know that he can win the race by the margin he can win the race by.

"But, he has to get the start and go, or be able to battle [through] etc.

"Now, as I said yesterday, I think he deserves a podium. He's riding very, very well. And here he's riding superbly because he's gone nearly a second quicker than in qualifying last week.

"But on the average pace, he's by far the fastest guy."

Who do you think are his nearest rivals?

"Nobody at the moment. After that it's much of a muchness between a lot of riders," added Crutchlow, who qualified seventh.

"At the moment I don't have superb pace, I need to improve, but saying it is easier than doing it because I've been trying all weekend.

"I had a strong race last week, I just couldn't get past Dovi. So I think we would have been a bit stronger. But obviously, then again we have to choose the tyre for tomorrow and you have to manage that tyre.

"It seems this week the tyre wear is quite high but Taka's riding very, very well with used tyres.

"We'll see what happens tomorrow."

Nakagami, who has a 2019-spec bike, finished in fifth place but only 4.5s from winner Alex Rins at Aragon last Sunday.

Crutchlow and Repsol Honda riders Alex Marquez and Stefan Bradl are using the 2020 Honda.

 

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