Crutchlow and Edwards show class in Le Mans
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team is confident of a strong showing in its crucial home race tomorrow after Cal Crutchlow and Colin Edwards produced breathtaking qualifying performances at the Le Mans circuit this afternoon.
Crutchlow's fantastic rookie season in the MotoGP World Championship continued in brilliant fashion, the British rider surging to a career best sixth position on the grid in just his second day of riding at the legendary Bugatti track in France.
The 25-year-old spent most of the session assessing the performance of Bridgestone's hard compound rear tyre before Crutchlow commenced a stunning time attack in the final 15 minutes. A lap of 1.34.374 pushed him into fifth position but Crutchlow then shaved another 0.5s off to secure a memorable maiden top six place on the grid for tomorrow's 28-lap French Grand Prix.
Crutchlow's best time of 1.33.804 was only 0.098s behind reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo riding the factory Yamaha YZR-M1 machine, as less than 1.5s split the top 14 riders in an enthralling session. Crutchlow was less than 0.2s away from a front row start, raising hopes that he can fight for a third consecutive top ten finish in tomorrow's race.
With temperatures slightly cooler than yesterday as scattered cloud hung over the Le Mans circuit, American Colin Edwards equaled his best qualifying performance of the campaign and he'll start the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team's all-important home race from seventh on the grid.
Edwards worked tirelessly to improve the set-up he first tried during the Estoril test earlier this month, which significantly helped with the rear grip of his YZR-M1 machine. Edwards, who has scored two of his 11 MotoGP podiums in Le Mans, clocked a best time of 1.34.063 to finish seventh on the timesheets. Edwards was only 0.259s behind Crutchlow.
Position 6th - Time 1.33.804 - Laps 28
“I knew I had the raw speed to come into MotoGP and be fast, but to get a top six on the grid in just my fourth race is a brilliant achievement. Thanks again to my guys in the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team because we've worked really well again and I wanted to do well with this being the Team's home race in France. At one point in the session I was only 15th and I was starting to get a bit worried because we spent a lot of time on the hard tyre. I couldn't get it to work and I did a faster lap on a softer tyre that had done 30-laps. To be honest, the bike has been quite difficult to ride this weekend. We've had to change the wheelbase setting from the Estoril test but it still feels a little bit unstable. To qualify sixth on a circuit I've never seen before though is great, but my expectation will still be to finish in the top ten. And that's going to be difficult when you look at how close the times are. As always I'll be going all out tomorrow to get a good result.”
Position 7th - Time 1.34.063 - Laps 30
“I liked looking at the timesheets in Le Mans a lot better when the Yamaha used to be on the top. I honestly can't do anything on else with the package I've got. I know I'm riding really good and the set-up we found in Estoril that improved rear grip has been working fantastic here too. I could probably find a tenth or two but I definitely don't have another second hidden away. I know where I'm losing the time but there is nothing I can do about it. I can't change the bike to make it accelerate it any harder but that other bike is a really good package. The goal tomorrow will just to be aggressive in the first few laps and ride the wheels off it until I see the flag. That's really all I can do but this is the Team's home race and a huge event for Monster, so I'll be pushing my hardest for another top six.”
-source: tech 3 yamaha