Edwards and Crutchlow storm to third row in Estoril
Colin Edwards produced his best qualifying performance of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship in Estoril today, the American surging to a brilliant seventh position on the grid for tomorrow's Portuguese Grand Prix.
And Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team-mate Cal Crutchlow equalled his best qualifying result of his outstanding rookie campaign after the British rider set the eighth quickest time in this afternoon's session. With small damp patches still littering sections of the 2.599 miles circuit after torrential overnight rain, Edwards and Crutchlow expertly built up their speed to qualify within 0.109s of each other at the end of a typically captivating MotoGP qualifying session.
Edwards ended with a fastest time of 1.38.080 and once again the experienced Texan was the leading non-factory rider in the ultra-competitive MotoGP field. His time was only 0.007s away from the second row as he experimented with different front-end settings throughout the hour-long session to find better turning performance with his YZR-M1 machine.
Crutchlow caught the eye once again with his all-action style thrilling a sizeable Saturday crowd ahead of tomorrow's 28-lap race. He was able to lap consistently inside the top ten throughout as forecast rain held off, despite dark clouds hanging menacingly over the track.
Just over a minute remained when Crutchlow stormed into sixth position with a lap of 1.38.190. But he was bumped back to the third row by a late burst of speed from factory Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso and Edwards. He managed to lap marginally quicker on his final lap to qualify eighth and for the third r ace in succession, the 2009 World Supersport champion will start in front of Italian Valentino Rossi.
Tomorrow's race is the third round of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship following the recent postponement of the Japanese MotoGP race, scheduled to take place on April 24.
Position 7th - Time 1.38.080 - Laps 27
“That's my best qualifying result of the season so far, so I'm happy about that when you consider how strong the field is this year. I gave it everything I had out there even though conditions weren't perfect. There were still a couple of damp patches on the track, especially at the last corner, and I couldn't take my normal line. It is the same for everybody but in a couple of places where I had to alter my line, it threw me out of my rhythm a little bit. Even with the track a bit patchy I was able to go fas ter than I managed yesterday, so thanks again to my guys in the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team. They did an awesome job and the bike feels good and in those conditions I don't think we could have gone any faster. We made a couple of changes to the front in that session and we need to sit down and look at the data to see if I'll run that set-up in the race. We might need to make another modification for the race because I'd still like the bike to turn into the corner a little better. To be right behind the factory bikes is all I can do and my team is doing a fantastic job to help get as close to the front as I am.”
Position 8th - Time 1.38.189 - Laps 25
“I don't think I could have gone any faster or put in any extra effort than I did. And if I can keep coming to circuits that I've never seen and qualifying inside the top ten, I'm going to be really happy. At one point it look ed like I might get my first second row, but to be in between Colin and Valentino on the grid for my first race here, I've got to be really happy. I pretty much lost a session too because I only did a couple of laps in the wet this morning. It wasn't worth taking any big risks and I don't think I've ever been so happy to finish last. It is not easy on this track and I'm finding it quite physical. I'm still having some issues with arm pump in my right arm and to compensate I'm using my left arm a lot and that is stressing the shoulder I had an operation on during the winter. There's no real time to relax and when you're braking from 200mph to 30mph, it is really physically demanding on the arms and shoulders. I'm really looking forward to the race now and hopefully I can reward the team with a good result after all their effort again this weekend. My aim for tomorrow will be to finish in the top ten and get some more experience of the bike under my belt.”
-source: tech 3 yamaha