Crutchlow and Edwards make solid start at Czech GP
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team returned to action in Brno today with Cal Crutchlow and Colin Edwards making a solid start to their preparations for Sunday's Cardion ab Grand Prix Ceské republiky MotoGP round.
After a well deserved two week summer break, Crutchlow was instantly back in the groove in cloudy conditions this morning, the British rider setting the ninth quickest time. The 25 year old was able to dedicate all his time on improving the set up of his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 machine having previously raced at the Brno circuit in the World Superbike Championship.
And he put that previous track knowledge to good use in this afternoon's second session, which was run in hotter and brighter conditions that saw temperatures increase to 23 degrees. Crutchlow improved his pace by more than half-a-second this afternoon and a time of 1.57.859 put him sixth at one stage. He eventually finished ninth but giving his confidence a major boost, he finished just over 0.3s away from fifth position on combined times.
American Colin Edwards worked hard to improve rear grip with his YZR-M1 machine in both sessions and he was almost 0.2s faster in the second 45-minute practice. The Texan though is still searching for a more comfortable setting to show more of his true potential after he had to settle for 12th on the timesheets with a best lap of 1.58.313.
Cal Crutchlow: “Today was a positive day and we made a good improvement with the bike and I feel like the front-end feeling I've been missing in the last few races is definitely better. We tried a new handlebar position, bringing them closer to me and it was a positive step. It is still not as good as I'd like it to be but we'll try and change the set-up of the bike for tomorrow to gain some more turning performance. I should have been a little bit quicker but I made a mistake on the last lap and I'm sure I could have been in the top seven. Valentino (Rossi) and (Alvaro) Bautista just got me at the end but I'm confident I can be battling for around seventh place in the race on Sunday. Not having to learn the circuit today has been a big help and I've proved with some track knowledge I can finish in front of some guys with a lot more experience than me in MotoGP. Maybe I've been pushing too hard in the last few weeks without the track knowledge on new circuits, but today my pace was pretty consistent and it was a solid start and gives me a platform to build on now for the rest of the weekend.”
Colin Edwards: “Today has been a bit of a struggle to be honest and I was hoping to be a bit higher up the timesheets than 12th. We are working hard to find a solution but right now we're still missing something in the set-up of the bike that allows me to push at a level I feel comfortable and confident at. My biggest problem is the rear grip and it doesn't feel like the tyre is getting the force into the ground I need and I'm riding on a small contact patch. As a consequence that also has an impact on front feeling and that is not the formula for setting fast lap times. I'm running wide a lot and to make sure I can get the bike turned I have to slow the corner speed right down. But losing a lot of corner speed kills the lap time, so I've got have a sit down tonight with my crew and come up with a plan to change the bike for tomorrow to see if we can make it better.”