Edwards storms to superb seventh in Misano qualifying
Colin Edwards delivered another fantastic qualifying performance for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team in Misano to boost his hopes of recording a top six finish in tomorrow's 28-lap GP Aperol di San Marino E Riviera di Rimini.
The 37-year-old missed a second successive second row start by just 0.028s and Edwards will start round 13 of this year's World Championship from seventh position having once again finished top non-factory rider.
Edwards was in stunning form earlier today when he ended practice in a confidence-inspiring fifth position, the Texan benefiting from geometry modifications to the front-end of his YZR-M1 machine to lap almost a second faster than he managed yesterday.
With a quarter of this afternoon's qualifying session remaining, Edwards jumped into the top five with a lap of 1.34.356. He was able to shave a further 0.3s off that lap but it wasn't quite quick enough to secure him a third top six start on the grid this season.
Edwards is now optimistic that he can battle for the top six in tomorrow's race as he looks to cement his position as the leading non-factory rider in the overall rankings.
British rider Cal Crutchlow had an eventful qualifying session, which took place in slightly cooler conditions than yesterday. Temperatures still peaked at 29 degrees and like team-mate Edwards, Crutchlow was able to knock almost a second off his Friday pace to finish this morning's third practice session in ninth position thanks to wheelbase alterations to his YZR-M1 machine.
Crutchlow was lapping inside the top 10 and looking to improve his pace of 1.34.791 when he suffered two late crashes. He tumbled out at Turn 3 on his first soft Bridgestone rear tyre and having returned to the pits to jump on his spare Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team machine, he crashed again in the closing moments of the session while looking to better his 13th position.
Both times he escaped injury and the spills haven't dented Crutchlow's confidence and the 25-year-old remains positive that he can compete for a top 10 result on the 2.626 miles circuit tomorrow.
Position 7th - Time 1.34.054 - Laps 29
“I'm really happy with today and it was a shame all our hard work didn't quite get us on the second row. We knew what the problems were yesterday and we changed the geometry on the front-end to create some stability throu gh the high-speed sections. Once again I got to say a big thanks to my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew because they rolled out an awesome bike for me. They did their job and I had to do mine and thankfully I did. There's not much between fourth and seventh and to be just over a tenth behind Ben (Spies) on the factory Yamaha proves what a good job we've done. I'm now looking forward to the race tomorrow. I'm going to run the soft rear tyre and I'm pretty sure it will be perfect, but I just can't make the hard rear option work. It feels pretty rigid and I just tense up when I'm on it. I've got to be looking at the top six though it is not going to be easy at all when you look at the calibre of those guys in front of me and the bikes they are riding. I just need to make sure I get a good start and try and stay out of trouble in the first couple of corners because there's been a few incidents there.”
Position 13th - Time 1.34.791- Laps 23
“The position on the timesheets looks like it was a bad session and it could definitely have ended a lot better without the two crashes. But this morning I was a second faster than yesterday and felt really comfortable on the bike after we made some overnight changes that improved the front. I think I was eighth on the timesheets when I had the first crash, so I know I could have been in the top 10 on the grid. The first crash was at Turn 3. I'd just gone out on my first soft rear and there wasn't enough heat in it, so it high-sided me and then turned into a low-side. It wasn't a big problem and we put a new soft rear tyre in the spare bike. But the only front I had left was 25-laps old. I was on for a really good lap and the front pushed because it had close to race distance on it and I crashed again. That's pretty annoying but they were both my mistakes and I hold my hands up for that. I'm still positive that I could have been much higher up on the grid and I am confident I can be inside the top 10 tomorrow. I need to apologise to my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew for giving them a bit of work, but it makes me more determined to give them a decent result tomorrow.”