Colin Edwards grabbed his first career pole position in the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix (MotoGP) after he set the fastest time in the qualifying session for the French Grand Prix on the Bugatti Le Mans circuit.
After he suffered a crash in the morning session, Edwards was able to put his Fiat Yamaha at the top with a time of 1'33.616 in his final attempt to take the pole position.
"This morning's off was a pretty big one and as I was flying through the air I was pretty sure it was going to hurt! Somehow though I landed, the bike sort of rolled over me, I stood up and realised I was ok! I honestly think that had a positive bearing on my performance this afternoon", the American commented.
Proving there were no problems remaining after his eventful morning, Edwards was quickly running consistently at the top of the standings as he looked to perfect the race set-up of his Yamaha.
"My bike was working great but I screwed up the last section with my first qualifying tyre and so I knew it had to make or break the second time around. As I went into that final section I thought "here goes, it's pole or crash and after this morning I've realised the ground doesn't hurt so much after all!" I gave it everything I've got and it paid off", he added.
Edwards`s laptime at the end of the qualifying session left Casey Stoner without the pole on his Marlboro Ducati. The Aussie had to settle with second best off the pace by 0.094 seconds to the "Texan Tornado".
"I haven't been off the front two rows this year which is a big surprise for me because I'm not usually much of a qualifier. I thought we might have had the pole today but Colin [Edwards] just pipped me at the end. Anyway, the bike and tyres have been working brilliant all weekend", Stoner said.
The Australian looks strong for Sunday after an impressive pace in race trim with laps in the low 1m 35s. He finished off with an amazing 1m34.7s on well used tyres.
"This afternoon we were doing low 35s and I did a 34.7 with tyres that had done over 20 laps so we're looking pretty strong. I'm not doing anything much different myself this year but I've gone up a level in team and found a bike and tyres that suit me, so the level of everything has jumped up and we're able to keep that level through most racetracks and most sessions, so it's real good", Stoner explained.
Right after Stoner -- who leads the standings after four races -- appeared Carlos Checa, the only man from Honda that was able to confirm the good job done yesterday by the marquee.
The Spaniard on board his Honda LCR set a time of 1'33.859 to end at 0.243 seconds adrift of the American pole winner after the one hour session. Checa was joined by the five-time MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi as part of the four-rider group who did laps under 1'34 mark. The Italian couldn't get the pole position he was looking for and ended beaten by his teammate and his main rival in the championship, Stoner.
John Hopkins and Toni Elias completed a top six split equally between Michelin and Bridgestone riders, ahead of reigning champion Nicky Hayden -- a good result in a season that has been negative for the American -- and home rider Randy de Puniet.
"That's the best my bike has felt on qualifiers for a while, with the least amount of chatter, and it all felt pretty good today. I didn't get the final section of my best lap perfectly right and I wish I could have got through there a little bit quicker. So it wasn't a stellar day finishing back in seventh in both sessions but overall I've felt better than I have in the last few races and the Michelin tyres seem to be working well too", stated Hayden.
There were frustrations for two former 250cc. world champions as Marco Melandri -- fastest yesterday -- and Dani Pedrosa -- second on Friday -- as they set ninth and tenth top time for the starting grid for the French Grand Prix.
"Obviously starting from tenth isn't really where I want to be and will make a good start especially important tomorrow. There were a couple of issues with the machine today which cost us some time and then in qualifying I had some traffic in the second section of the lap which meant my time wasn't as quick as it should have been", Pedrosa commented.
Tomorrows French Grand Prix will start at 14.00 local time, and is expected to have a close fight for the victory in historic circuit of Le Mans.