Edwards claims top ten, Toseland crashes in scorching Sepang Colin Edwards rode his Tech 3 Yamaha YZR-M1 machine to his best ever Malaysian MotoGP result today, the American finishing a scorching hot 21-lap encounter in eighth position. With...
Edwards claims top ten, Toseland crashes in scorching Sepang
Colin Edwards rode his Tech 3 Yamaha YZR-M1 machine to his best ever Malaysian MotoGP result today, the American finishing a scorching hot 21-lap encounter in eighth position.
With air temperatures nudging an energy sapping 40 degrees, Edwards lost four places in a frantic jostle for positions at the first corner, but quickly found the pace that saw him top the timesheets on the opening day of free practice.
The 33-year-old immediately dropped his lap times into the 2.02 bracket and seized eighth place from Loris Capirossi with a clinical move at the second corner on lap four. That move left Edwards glued to the back wheel of fellow Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo as an exciting six-rider dice from third to eighth unfolded in front of 38,500 fans. Edwards was promoted to seventh when Lorenzo was unlucky to tumble out on lap 11 at the first corner, but he slipped back down to eighth on lap 15 when Capirossi pounced. With track temperatures hitting 42 degrees, Edwards began to encounter small grip issues and was unable to mount a counter attack. He kept a consistent pace in the extreme heat for the final few laps, but despite a determined ride, he couldn't close back in on the group in front.
James Toseland was unable to capitalise on significant steps he made with the set-up of his Tech 3 Yamaha YZR-M1 in this morning's warm-up session. He improved front-end braking stability, but the 28-year-old slipped down to 16th after a hectic opening two laps while he tried to get the better of Anthony West and Randy de Puniet. Pushing hard to move back into the points, Toseland crashed out when he lost the front-end at turn six on lap three. He emerged unscathed from the spill, and will be looking to end his rookie season in style in next weekend's final round in Valencia.
There is still plenty to fight for the Tech 3 Yamaha team in Spain next Sunday, with Edwards still pursuing a top six World Championship finish, and Toseland a top ten overall placing. Tech 3 Yamaha is also still firmly in the hunt for fourth place in the Team World Championship.
Colin Edwards - Position: 8th Time: +0'18.802
"I thought I'd got a good start and I must have done because I nearly tangled with Jorge off the line and he was on the front row. It was pretty close but luckily we didn't touch. But at the first corner people started coming around me and there was a bit of bumping and barging and I lost a couple more places. Nakano and Capirossi came by but in the first eight laps I felt pretty good and I got into the high 2.02s. I was right on the back of the bunch but I felt like I was losing a bit on acceleration. As much as I'd close up on the brakes, I'd lose coming onto the back straight and the front straight. It was so hot and the track temperature was so high that the balance of the bike changed around the halfway point. Once the rear grip goes down a bit, it stops transferring weight on the front. When Jorge crashed I almost went down in the exact same circumstances going into the first corner because the rear tyre wasn't holding as well as it did at the start of the race and it wasn't driving the front tyre into the track. And when that happens it is hard to turn the bike. That was my issue and after that it was difficult. I kept my head down and tried to push because I could still see the group in front. But I couldn't get any pace going coming out of the corners and I made a couple of little mistakes. I'm really disappointed even though it is my best result ever at this race. But eighth is well below where I want to be. I leave here knowing I did the best I could do and I hope I can give the team and Yamaha a strong finish in Valencia next week before we starting looking to 2009."
James Toseland - Position: DNF
"Things never clicked from the start of the weekend, although this morning we found a bit of light at the end of the tunnel. But getting it nearly right on Sunday morning means you don't have time to get a proper feeling with the setting and we made a big change with the front. We raised the front and got it to steer better because that was the main issue we had. It was causing me a problem on the brakes and entry and that was messing me up for the rest of the corner. I could brake better and it made the bike more balanced for the entry and exit. Qualifying 12th though makes it tough, especially here and I got boxed in a bit at the first corner. I braked after everybody else and made a couple of places up but ran wide and then it was a real dogfight. I was having a close battle with de Puniet and West but then when I picked up my pace I went down. I had to run a harder front tyre to make the race distance and I think it just needed another lap to get the temperature in it. I just pushed it too hard and lost the front at turn six. I paid for pushing too hard trying to make up the time I'd lost. I was confident after this morning when I was eighth and we'd make progress with the bike, so it is a bit disappointing. But I'll be going all out to make amends in Valencia and finish on a high."
Herve Poncharal - Team Manager
"Honestly it is a bit of a disappointing outcome because we started the weekend very well. Colin was very competitive on race tyres from Friday and he performed very well in qualifying to get on the second row. We were pretty confident that he could make a good challenge in a dry race and possibly fight for the top five. Colin didn't get a great start but he always looked in contention behind the group. He rode hard but he just couldn't get close enough to mount an attack. With James we also thought we might have got both of them in the top ten, because James was confident after the warm-up this morning that the changes he made with his crew were a big step in the right direction. Unfortunately it didn't happen for him. James didn't get the start he wanted and he was pushing hard and crashed. But if you don't try then you only follow everybody, so while it was a disappointing for him, at least he was fighting. It has been a difficult race but will try and finish the season in Valencia on a high note. Fourth in the Team World Championship is still a possibility and everyone at Tech 3 will be giving their maximum effort as always next weekend."