The second half of the 2008 MotoGP world championship got off to a mixed start for the Tech 3 Yamaha team in Germany today. Colin Edwards once again impressed with the third fastest time as he looks to continue his own superb run of...
The second half of the 2008 MotoGP world championship got off to a mixed start for the Tech 3 Yamaha team in Germany today.
Colin Edwards once again impressed with the third fastest time as he looks to continue his own superb run of form. Working on improving front tyre grip, Edwards' best lap of 1.22.463 saw him finish top Michelin rider as he goes in search of sixth successive top five finish in Sunday's 30-lap race. The Texan's confidence wasn't dented by a crash at the final corner when he was lying second, and he believes further improvements to front tyre grip will help him mount a serious challenge for a third podium finish of the season.
Today's opening free practice sessions though proved a much tougher affair for rookie James Toseland. After finding himself on familiar territory at Donington and Assen, Toseland again faced the challenging prospect of learning the technical Sachsenring track from scratch.
The 27-year-old, who walked away from an early crash this morning, is confident he can significantly lower his lap times tomorrow having made big strides in improving the set-up of his YZR-M1 machine.
Colin Edwards 3rd 1.22.463 - 51 laps
"This morning I went out and I didn't have a lot of feeling from the front. I thought it was a small issue with grip so we played around with the bike and it didn't really get any better. The feeling I'm always looking for just wasn't there and I'm a front-end guy. I just couldn't get the front to gel with me. I tried a different front tyre this afternoon - a harder one - and that felt better but it is something that we never use. This place is so hard on front tyres and what we normally use race after race wouldn't have the durability, so Michelin have had to improvise a little bit and it was just a feeling that I'm not used to. I went out there and got going and did a couple of good laps and the next thing I crashed. I braked for the last corner and that was it. You know when you do something wrong because when you get in they're too hot and your eyes bulge out, you know you are not going to make it. But I didn't even do that. I just cruised into the corner like normal and I was down. I had zero warning. Michelin and the team came up with some ideas to try and create some more front feel and I went out on the spare bike and at the end I wasn't even really pushing and I did a 22 and it seemed easy because I had some feel. So a big thanks to Michelin and my guys for the improvements we found. Honestly though this is the best package I've ever rolled out of the truck on a Friday at this circuit. I normally come here and it is a nightmare for me to get the bike working. But today it worked like a charm and Michelin have done a great job with the rear tyres. They are awesome, so with more feel now from the front I'm really confident."
James Toseland 17th 1.23.864 - 55 laps
"It is quite a difficult track to learn and really technical. It is one of those tracks where it is blind in a lot of places and you need to keep on the throttle. So you really need to know where you're going. We have tried a lot of things today, which has been interesting and right at the end I finally found a bit of rhythm in the 23s but then the chequered flag came out. We've been working between two settings to see which one is more comfortable and now at least we know the direction to go in to make the bike more rideable. It looks a lot worse on paper than it is and I'm still upbeat. I'm bottom of the list but at the end I saw a bit of a light at the end of the tunnel, so fingers crossed it will be dry tomorrow. The problem is we are struggling to find the set-up for the shorter bike. It is much easier to find with the longer bike but that one has a few issues. With the shorter bike it is the same problem as before, there is too much weight transition on that bike under braking and I've not got much feel from the rear tyre on the entry. The crash on the third lap this morning put me off a bit. That was my mistake. I just touched the white line going into that lefthander and it just lost traction as I got back onto the tarmac and down I went. Both of my arms are black and blue because the stones are quite big in the gravel. I went in backwards and dug my arms in a bit and it has really battered them."