James Toseland impresses on Catalunya debut James Toseland once again proved his skill at overcoming a lack of track knowledge to finish eighth fastest on the opening day of free practice in Catalunya. Venturing into unchartered territory for...
James Toseland impresses on Catalunya debut
James Toseland once again proved his skill at overcoming a lack of track knowledge to finish eighth fastest on the opening day of free practice in Catalunya. Venturing into unchartered territory for the fifth successive race, Toseland excelled by clocking an impressive best time of 1.43.479 this afternoon. More importantly though for Toseland was his time was only 0.462s off the quickest pace set by experienced Catalunya campaigner Dani Pedrosa.
Previously at Estoril, Le Mans, Shanghai and Mugello, Toseland has found himself over a second off the fastest pace on the first day of riding at tracks where he has no experience. But exuding confidence with a base setting on his Tech 3 Yamaha YZR-M1 machine he first used in Mugello last weekend, Toseland acquitted himself to the task of learning the technical Montmelo circuit superbly, knocking nearly one second off his best time set this morning.
It was also a productive day for Colin Edwards, who concentrated on finding a consistent pace in race trim. Like Toseland, Edwards was able to post a series of consistent laps in the 1.43 bracket, with both riders opting to focus on finding a good race set-up, while also conducting important tests on a range of Michelin race tyres ahead of Sunday's 25-lap clash.
James Toseland 8th 1'43.479;
"To be only four-tenths off on my first day is really pleasing and that shows how well the team has been working and how good this new setting is we found at the Michelin test after Le Mans. At the other new tracks I was over a second slower at this point on a Friday so we have made big progress. We have just about found a really good base setting on the bike and that is helping me learn the tracks even quicker. I can concentrate of fine tuning the set-up rather than turning the bike upside down, while also trying to find my way round the circuit. We have got to a point were we can just tweak the bike rather than look to make big changes. The set-up is a real improvement and it has helped a lot with rear grip. Today I was able to do consistent times on old tyres but that's because I've got the confidence to push. The rear is much more planted and the new set-up puts more weight on the rear tyre. With the rear more planted on the entry you can brake a bit later because there is more contact. I can enter the corner faster and still turn because there is more grip and then get on a better apex to exit better. It is amazing if you don't have that rear traction how much time you can lose in those points. Now I'm in the ballpark on the first day I'll check with my guys and Michelin where we can improve. We've still got some small issues and those last few tenths are always the hardest to find. I'm really pleased with today though and love the track. Like Mugello, it is so fast, flowing and technical and I love riding through those fast corners."
Colin Edwards 10th 1'43.668;
"I'm down in tenth which is not where I want to be, but I'm not worried at all because looking at the times, I'm doing okay. I've done a lot of 1.43 laps and I'm right there with the rest of them, but a lot of guys haven't been able to string many laps together. The tyre I went fastest on I did 20 laps on it and my last lap was only five tenths slower than my fastest. If somebody told me I'll go out and do 25 laps at 43.7 on Sunday I'll take it right now. I think some guys will struggle with that pace for that many laps so we are in good shape. All we have been doing is playing around with the bike to get the best set-up for Sunday.
"We have a little issue with traction but nothing to worry about at all. I'd like a bit more drive on the rear exiting corners but that will come from a setting change because I'm really happy with Michelin, Yamaha and Tech 3. I did a lot of laps to get some information for Michelin and a lot of those laps were around my best time, and that's probably the fastest I have ever been at this place. With a bit more rear traction we'll be in great shape, because more traction is more satisfaction."