French GP: Tech 3 Yamaha qualifying report

Superb second row for Colin Edwards, Toseland 12th in Le Mans Colin Edwards gave the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team's hopes of a home podium in the French MotoGP race a massive boost when he qualified in sixth position on the grid in Le Mans this ...

Superb second row for Colin Edwards, Toseland 12th in Le Mans

Colin Edwards gave the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team's hopes of a home podium in the French MotoGP race a massive boost when he qualified in sixth position on the grid in Le Mans this afternoon.

The 35-year-old was in superb form throughout the session, which started on a damp track that rapidly dried out after earlier rain showers. Edwards, who was part of a Yamaha clean sweep of the Le Mans podium last season, produced a stunning burst of speed shortly before the halfway stage to put himself in contention for pole position. At one stage he led Ducati's Casey Stoner by over 0.5s having impressively reeled off four successive fastest laps.

As the session built up to an exciting climax, he held a position on the front row until the final five minutes and Edwards ended with a best time of 1.34.330, which left him just 0.326s away from pole position.

Having been quickest in this morning's final practice session, the Texan is confident his consistent pace using a combination of hard front and soft rear compound Bridgestone tyres will enable him to mount a strong challenge for the podium in tomorrow's 28-lap race.

British rider James Toseland will start from 12th on the grid, the 28-year-old though was delighted with progress made in the set-up of his YZR-M1 machine. Improvements to front and rear stability allowed Toseland to push harder while feeling more comfortable, and he was less than a second away from claiming a place in the top seven.

Colin Edwards 6th 1.34.330 -- 30 laps

"I'm happy on one side because my race pace is really consistent and I'm as quick as the guys in front of me, so I expect to be challenging at the front in the race tomorrow. But part of me is a little bit disappointed that I wasn't higher up the grid having been close to the top pretty much throughout. I had a couple of small issues and I feel there was more time out there. Basically I can only use the hard front tyre. I can't get the soft one to work, but we have to keep two of the four hard compound tyres for the race. So by the end of the session the front I like is past its best with a lot of laps on it. When you put in the softer rear tyre to make a lap time at the end of the session, the best grip on the hard front has gone and it starts moving because you're pushing it too hard. Having said that, to be within three tenths of the fast guys I'm not complaining too much. And when we start the race tomorrow with the grip of the front and rear at the same level, we're not going to have a problem. I got a podium last year for Tech 3 in its home race, so I'm definitely looking for a repeat of that."

James Toseland 12th 1.35.524 -- 30 laps

"I felt much happier today and the team gave me a great bike. I'm sorry to my guys really for not being a bit further up the grid, but we're so close to being on the edge of the top six and I feel I'm making the progress I've been looking for. This morning it was too cold for the hard front tyre, so we didn't really run it, but with ten degrees more temperature this afternoon, it was much stronger and I felt much more comfortable and that helped me a lot. With the softer rear tyre, which I'm sure will be the race choice that should be a good combination. Sadly the final position is not great again and that is something that has hampered me this season. I'm not far off the group in front at all but starting further down makes it tough to pick them off when we're all doing similar lap times. I really feel though that I'm getting close and today I started to enjoy riding and not thinking about always struggling. That was a good feeling and I know how important this race is for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team and I'll be giving it 100 per cent as always."

-credit: tech 3

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Colin Edwards , James Toseland , Casey Stoner
Teams Tech 3