Portuguese GP: Tech 3 race report

Mixed fortunes for Edwards and Spies in Estoril The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha Team experienced mixed fortunes at the Grand Prix of Portugal today, Colin Edwards racing to a gutsy seventh position while Ben Spies was unfortunately unable to ...

Mixed fortunes for Edwards and Spies in Estoril

The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha Team experienced mixed fortunes at the Grand Prix of Portugal today, Colin Edwards racing to a gutsy seventh position while Ben Spies was unfortunately unable to start after a heavy fall on the sighting lap.

After a weekend of atrocious weather severely disrupted the practice and qualifying schedule, the MotoGP race started on a drying track in bright and sunny but blustery conditions. Some damp patches were still visible on the surface after further torrential rain this morning, but with no dry track time under his belt, set-up and tyre choice became a lottery for Edwards.

Edwards needed to call on all his experie nce as tricky conditions in the early laps presented the 36-year-old with a severe test of skill and bravery. Working out quickly where he could push, Edwards spent the majority of the race on the fringes of an exciting five-rider fight for third place. He got up to seventh on lap 18 with an overtake on Randy de Puniet and at that point he was only 1.6s behind Marco Simoncelli in third.

Frustratingly for the Texan, he was unable to force his way into contention for a rostrum, despite launching numerous attempts to close down on the podium battle unfolding directly in front of him. He eventually finished seventh and heading to the final round in Valencia next weekend, Edwards is just one-point behind Marco Melandri in his bid to claim a top ten overall championship finish.

It was a difficult afternoon for fellow American Spies, who had impressed all weekend on his first visit to the Estoril track. Spies w as confident of a strong race despite having never completed a single lap of the track in the dry. But he crashed on the second of two sighting laps at turn four and was unable to start the 28-lap encounter.

Spies suffered a dislocated left ankle and aggravated injuries suffered in Le Mans and Silverstone earlier in the season. The 26-year-old will now travel to Spain where he will undergo MRI scans on the ankle, though he is determined to end his outstanding rookie campaign by participating in the final round in Valencia next weekend.

Colin Edwards Colin Edwards - Position: 7th - 99-points

"It was a lottery before the race because we'd had no dry track time and at the start there was still quite a few damp patches around. My guys at Monster Yamaha Tech 3 though did an awesome job because what we ran on the bike worked pretty good. But if you don't adapt in a couple of laps then you're in big trouble and off the pace. I felt pretty good from the start even though it was so difficult in the first few laps. It was hard to find the limit or work out when you were going to slide and everybody was having big moments. This is all going on why you're trying to push at the same time and it was a bit of a lottery just to keep it on two wheels. I caught that group and I could see third but I couldn't do anything with them and that was pretty frustrating. I made up time on them on the brakes but they just had a bit more punch coming out of the corners. So each time I'd close up, they'd gap me leaving the next corner. The podium was right there, I could see it, but I just couldn't get close enough."

Ben Spies Ben Spies - DNS - 163-points

"I knew the race was going to be tough because I had never turned a lap in the dry on this track. The first sighting lap was fine and o n the second I just made a mistake at turn four. Aoyama and Capirossi were in front of me and they nearly did the same thing. I just didn't have the left side of the tyre heated up enough and it spat me off. I'm frustrated because I'm sure even in the dry I could have had a fairly good race. I've hurt my left ankle again and it's pretty painful right now. I'll have some more scans in Spain but my intention is to go to Valencia and race and hopefully do the test too. We'll have to wait and see but that's my plan right now."

Herve Poncharal - Team Manager
"It was certainly a mixed day for us. Colin rode a great race and he was always in that group fighting for the podium. He gave his maximum effort and he wasn't that far away from the podium at the end in a race that was very difficult considering nobody had any dry track time over the weekend. I was standing on the grid when Race Direction told me that Ben had crashed at turn four and I feel really sorry for him because all weekend he's done an incredible job. He'd never seen this track and in atrocious conditions he was always one of the fastest on track. When you look at the race it is not impossible to imagine Ben being capable of fighting for the podium again. We hope he'll be fine for Valencia and I know already that he wants to race. Congratulations also to Jorge for another fantastic win in what has been an amazing year for him and Yamaha."

-source: tech 3

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Colin Edwards , Ben Spies , Marco Melandri , Marco Simoncelli , Herve Poncharal
Teams Tech 3