Portuguese GP: Yamaha Tech 3 race report

Fighting fourth for Edwards, Toseland seventh Colin Edwards claimed his best result of 2008 with a determined ride to fourth place in Estoril today, while a hard fought seventh moved James Toseland into the top five of the MotoGP world ...

Fighting fourth for Edwards, Toseland seventh

Colin Edwards claimed his best result of 2008 with a determined ride to fourth place in Estoril today, while a hard fought seventh moved James Toseland into the top five of the MotoGP world championship standings. Lying sixth and tantalisingly close to the leading bunch for the opening nine laps, Edwards comfortably held onto the fourth place that he seized on lap 17 after a mistake by fellow American Nicky Hayden. He briefly threatened to close on Valentino Rossi in third as he posted his fastest lap on lap 19 of 28 with a 1.38.083, but settled for his best result since the German GP last July. The race started in tricky and unpredictable conditions as light rain showers fell at several sections on the circuit, leaving riders unsure of exactly how hard to push in the early stages.

The light rain certainly had an impact on Toseland's normal aggressive start. He slipped down to 11th on lap one, but fought back to overtake Loris Capirossi, Chris Vermeulen and Casey Stoner. The British rider only lost his chance of a third consecutive top six finish when Stoner passed him with eight laps remaining. Toseland and Edwards though ensured that Yamaha claimed four of the top seven places, and today's result strengthened Tech 3 Yamaha's fourth position in the all-important Team world championship standings.

Colin Edwards 4th +17.223

"When you are sitting on the grid with big rain spots on the visor, it is the worst feeling because you just don't know what to expect. I actually got a good start but then somebody was out of the seat in turn one in front of me and then somebody else did the same at the second corner. I thought, 'it must be real slick because of the rain.' And it was a bit like being on ice. I just got my head down but it seemed they were just driving away from me. I was on it and the electronics were kicking in and working but I wasn't really going anywhere. Basically I couldn't build any heat in the tyre early on. Running that different tyre from Michelin for acceleration grip instead of maximum corner speed, for those conditions it didn't really work.

Had it been dry from the start we'd have been good to fight for the podium. But with a bit of moisture I couldn't get any heat in the side of the tyre and no edge grip in the middle of the corner. Once I got heat into it I was motoring, which proved had it been dry, I'd gone for a good direction with Michelin. I wanted to be on the podium but I'll settle for fourth. It' something to build on and now we have got the new engine we can look forward with a lot of confidence. It was my best result for a long time so thanks to Tech 3 Yamaha and Michelin for that."

James Toseland 7th +32.361

"It is another solid finish and I've moved into fifth in the championship, so I've got to be pleased with that. But it was a tough weekend. Losing that hour of dry set-up time on Friday was pretty crucial, but I still got a second row and top seven on a track I don't know. Honestly though I wasn't aggressive enough at the start. When we were coming to the grid I saw Rossi pointing to the sky but it was only spitting, and I thought they'd take it a bit easy at the start. I'd got spots of rain on my visor and those conditions are not nice and not knowing the track and a bit of inexperience with the tyres I just didn't realise how hard you can push.

But I didn't get a great start and that lack of experience cost me because I wasn't sure where to brake for the first corner. I braked too early and got baulked. I got into a consistent pace and was running 38s but losing that hour on the first day meant the set-up wasn't spot on. It wasn't bad but it could have been better. The rear shock was too soft under acceleration and pumping. So when I opened the throttle that pumping just ran me a bit wide on the exit. The package I have got now with the new engine is better than that, and that's what makes it frustrating. I'm not as happy with this as my other results because the bike is capable of more. It was another good day for the Tech 3 team and Michelin so I'll be looking to get closer to the front in China."

Herve Poncharal - Team Manager

"What an incredible day for Yamaha, and I am glad Colin and James contributed to that. I have to say a big thanks to both of them because it was a very difficult race in extremely demanding conditions with the light rain making it hard to gauge how hard to push. Both of them rode a very strong race and fourth and seventh is a great result for the team. It is easily our best of the season so far and gives us a great platform to build on for the rest of the season. We are clearly moving forward together as a team and the future is looking very promising.

Now we have everything clear with James and Yamaha we can look forward to getting better and better, particularly now we have the new engine from Yamaha to help us achieve the results we want. I'd also like to offer my warmest congratulations to Jorge Lorenzo on his first win for Yamaha and Michelin. I'm sure it won't be his last."

-credit: yrc

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Series MotoGP
Drivers Nicky Hayden , Loris Capirossi , Valentino Rossi , Colin Edwards , James Toseland , Chris Vermeulen , Jorge Lorenzo , Casey Stoner , Herve Poncharal