Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders Colin Edwards and Cal Crutchlow return to action after a long break this weekend when the 2011 MotoGP World Championship resumes at the Estoril track in Portugal.
This weekend's race presents American Edwards with a chance to bounce back from the disappointment of missing out on a podium finish in an enthralling Spanish Grand Prix at the Jerez circuit earlier this month. Poised to secure his first rostrum since 2009, Edwards was cruelly denied by a small technical failure on the final lap of a dramatic rain-hit race, but the 36-year-old is determined to impress again on Yamaha's YZR-M1 machine in Estoril.
Edwards has twice finished fourth at the Estoril circuit in 2006 and 2008 and only once in his nine-year MotoGP career has he failed to finish inside the top ten.
The Portuguese Grand Prix will provide impressive rookie Crutchlow with another steep learning curve. The British rider has never raced on the 2.599 miles circuit before but he has already demonstrated his ability to learn new tracks quickly by challenging for a podium with an inspired performance on his debut at the Jerez track recently.
The three-week break gave Crutchlow the chance to undergo surgery on his right arm to solve a persistent numbness issue and he's confident he will be at 100 per cent fitness for Sunday's 28-lap race.
"I am looking forward to Portugal. This is a new circuit for me and it will be difficult once again as the others know this track already and have a lot more experience on it than me. I hope I can learn this circuit as fast as Jerez where I was quickly up to speed and I qualified inside the top ten. My arm is getting better and better after the surgery that was done to get rid of the numbness I felt during Qatar and Jerez. The stitches are out already, but I haven't tried to ride a bike yet, so I'll understand more on Friday when practice starts."
"A few years ago I was in the group fighting for the win and I like the Estoril track. I always seem to do pretty well there and it will be good to get back on the bike after a long break. The track seems to suit my riding style and with the extra performance we've got with the 2011 Yamaha YZR-M1, I'm confident we can have a strong weekend. The Yamaha has always works good in Estoril and had a good balance there, so there is no reason why I can't go there and think about challenging for at least a top six."
-source: tech 3