Edwards and Crutchlow kick off 2011 winter testing schedule
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team was back in action at the Valencia circuit in Spain today with Colin Edwards and Cal Crutchlow commencing their 2011 MotoGP World Championship preparations. With excitement and anticipation reaching fever pitch ahead of the first day of the winter testing schedule, proceedings were delayed when rain started to fall an hour before the circuit was due to open for action at 10am. Cold temperatures meant the track was slow to dry but once clear blue skies emerged in the early afternoon, Edwards and Crutchlow were able to begin lapping the Ricardo Tormo Circuit. A gusting wind though that worsened as the ses sion wore on made for unpredictable conditions. It was still a productive afternoon for experienced Texan Edwards as he began preparations for his ninth season in the MotoGP World Championship. The 36-year-old needed a few laps to adjust his riding style back to the YZR-M1 MotoGP machine after he completed over 50 laps yesterday evaluating the Tech 3 Racing Team's 2011 Moto2 machine. Edwards had a busy schedule to work through with his crew as he evaluated an updated YZR-M1 engine and revised chassis. He also tested different spec Bridgestone rear tyres with positive results. Crutchlow was unleashed on the MotoGP field for the first time today after a successful campaign in the World Superbike Championship with Yamaha's factory squad. The talented British rider tested a YZR-M1 machine at Yamaha's Fukuroi test track in Japan last month. But today gave him the opportu nity to line up against the star-studded MotoGP line-up for the first time and he acquitted himself superbly. The former World Supersport immediately formed a good understanding with experienced crew chief Daniele Romagnoli and was able to reel off several laps in the 1.34 bracket. Crutchlow had a small crash at the fifth corner but returned to the track later in the day and impressively built up his confidence again to post a best time of 1.34.314 in his 59-lap stint. It was a hugely encouraging display from Crutchlow and he was able to lap faster than Loris Capirossi and new Moto2 world champion Toni Elias, as well as fellow rookie Karel Abraham.
Position: 7th Time: 1'33.513 Laps: 49
"It was a really good day and we got through a lot of work, despite losing quite a bit of track time this morning. It took me a while just to tune my brain b ack into MotoGP mode after the Moto2 test but once I'd done that, it was a positive afternoon. It is only half-a-day on track but already I can tell Yamaha has done a really good job with the bike. The engine feels smoother than last season's and I really like the new chassis. All year I've been struggling with turning performance but with this new chassis we have improved a lot in that area and I can get into the corner easier and with a lot more confidence. I also did a fair amount of work for Bridgestone and they've been working hard too. I tried a couple of things that are really interesting for next year, so it was a productive start to 2011."
Position: 14th Time: 1'34.314 Laps: 59
"It was good to be finally part of MotoGP and to get in some dry track time on the bike because the rain hampered my first ride in Japan. It wasn't the easiest day I'll have because there is just so much to learn about riding a MotoGP bike fast, but my pace was good and I'm happy with my times. I'm happy with my performance and so are the team and it was good to start working with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew. I'm losing most of my time in just three points of the track but that is just down to experience. I had a small crash at the left-hander before the back straight. I think it must have been the wind because I had a slower corner speed and less brake pressure than before. But these things will happen when I'm on such a big learning curve. Lap times and position are not bothering at my moment. I just need to be getting laps in on the bike to build up my experience and I'm looking forward to tomorrow."
-source: yamaha tech 3