Fantastic fifth for Edwards, Toseland frustrated in Phillip Island
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team duo Colin Edwards and James Toseland had a day of contrasting fortunes at the spectacular Phillip Island circuit in Australia this afternoon.
Starting from fifth on the grid for the fifth successive race, Edwards made a slow getaway off the line and dropped down to ninth on the first lap in front of 50,094 fans. The Texan then produced a magnificent exhibition in overtaking to first pass Andrea Dovizioso on lap four. Setting a fast pace after pre-race tweaks with the set-up of his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 helped with stability and agility, the 35-year-old then superbly passed Mika Kallio, Toni Elias and Randy de Puniet in quick succession on lap five.
Edwards then set about closing the gap on Alex de Angelis in fourth position, but despite consistently lapping faster than the San Marino rider throughout the race, his hard challenge was in vain. His seventh top six finish of 2009 though boosted his hopes of overhauling Dovizioso for fifth place in the championship standings. With just two races remaining, Edwards is just seven points behind the Italian.
It was a frustrating afternoon for British rider Toseland, who had started the 27-lap race optimistic of claiming a second successive top six finish at Phillip Island.
Toseland was locked in the intense battle for fifth place when Race Direction imposed a ride through penalty after the 28-year-old was adjudged to have jumped the start. Toseland entered the pits on lap 10 and gallantly rode a hard pace in the second half of the race to almost fight his way back into a creditable 13th place, finishing just 0.034s behind Gabor Talmacsi.
Colin Edwards 5th -- 145 points
"I'll hold my hands up and say I really messed up the start. I pretty much fell asleep and when the lights went out, I was just sat there. That left me down in ninth place but the pace was pretty quick in the low 31s and I was able to pick off a few of them quite quickly. I knew if I didn't get my head down then I'd be towing them around because of how you can slipstream at this track. I never relented and my pace was pretty hot, and thankfully it wasn't too difficult for me to make a break from the pack. I saw de Angelis in front of me and I tried everything I could to get close to him. I'm tired of finishing fifth, so I gave it everything I had. But the start cost me fourth and some precious points. Towards the end of the race I started to lose some side grip and I couldn't do anything more to try and put pressure on de Angelis. I beat Dovizioso again which is all I can do to try and get fifth in the championship. I really want that fifth to reward all my guys at Monster Yamaha Tech 3. They've been great and I'll be giving it my all for them in the last two races."
James Toseland 14th - 87 points
"I'm really struggling to describe how I feel right now. All I can say is I feel the jump start decision was incredibly harsh and I am extremely disappointed. I have looked at the start on TV and I can't see I've done anything wrong. It is hard for me to take but I've got to try and put it behind me as soon as possible and aim for a strong result in Sepang next weekend. I was confident of a strong race today and I was latched onto the back of the group fighting for fifth. I felt my pace was strong enough to have put up a strong fight for a positive result, but the ride through ended all that. I want to thank all my guys at Monster Yamaha Tech 3 for all their hard work and effort this weekend. They have been brilliant as always and I'm not going to let this disappointment stop me from giving my all to finish this season on a high at the last two races."
Herve Poncharal -- Team Manager
"It was another very strong weekend from Colin and he rode another hard race. Had he made a better start then I'm convinced he would have been able to fight with de Angelis for fourth place. His lap times were better than Alex for most of the race and it would have been a good battle. Unfortunately we only gained one point on Dovizioso, but Colin is still fighting hard for fifth in the championship and there is still a lot to fight for. With James, I understand his frustration. I went with him to Race Direction to look at the start and honestly speaking, it was a very marginal decision. We have to respect the decision of Race Direction and I am convinced that James will bounce back strongly in Malaysia next weekend."
-credit: tech 3