Spies and Edwards eye podium fight in Valencia finale
Ben Spies and Colin Edwards will start the final round of the 2010 MotoGP world championship in Valencia tomorrow from sixth and seventh on the grid respectively, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team duo confident they can battle for a podium finish.
Spies produced another heroic performance in this afternoon's sun-drenched qualifying session, the Texan shrugging off constant discomfort from the dislocated left ankle he suffered less than a week ago in Estoril to claim sixth with a best time of 1.32.566.
Working tirelessly with his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew to improve rear stability, Spies was just over 0.3s away from the front row in a closel y contested session. The 26-year-old is confident that planned overnight set-up changes will improve his YZR-M1 machine even further as he prepares for an exciting fight for sixth place in the final standings with fellow American Nicky Hayden.
It was at the Valencia circuit 12 months ago that Spies made a scintillating Yamaha YZR-M1 debut, his stunning seventh place giving MotoGP fans a taste of the all-action performances that he's produced throughout a brilliant 2010.
And it is likely there will be more of the same tomorrow with Spies and Hayden tied on 163-points going into tomorrow's 30-lap race, with Spies finishing just 0.144s behind the 2006 world champion this afternoon.
Just one place and 0.013s further back on the grid is Edwards, who continued his excellent form this afternoon. More modifications to the radical set-up he first experimented with yesterday furth er improved turning performance for the 36-year-old and he occupied a place in the top three in the second half of the session.
He clocked a best time of 1.32.579 to finish seventh and the Texan is confident the new set-up will help him fight for the rostrum in what promises to be a thrilling conclusion to the season.
Ben Spies - Position: 6th Time: 1'32.566 Laps: 24
"I'm not super happy because I'd like the bike to be working better but to be close to the fight for the podium is pretty good. This track doesn't have a lot of rear grip and I've had some stability problems. I need the rear to be more stable for the race and I think we can achieve that. Yamaha and my Tech 3 guys will get together tonight and come up with some ideas and I know they'll give me a good bike tomorrow. The ankle isn't fantastic but I don't think it's losing me time. I'm not 100 per cen t but I can't say I'm losing half-a-second because of it. I can't move around on the bike as much as I'd like but the race is only 45 minutes and I'll get through it. I definitely want to move up in the championship and claim that sixth spot but I'm going out to treat it like another race and try to beat Nicky. There's a bit of pride at stake but I'd want to beat anybody for the top six, so it makes no difference that the fight is with Nicky."
Colin Edwards - Postiton 7th Time: 1'32.579 Laps: 23
"I've felt good all weekend with this new setting and I want to thank my guys at Monster Yamaha Tech 3 because as always they've done an awesome job. The changes we have made have really helped my confidence with the rear of the bike. I can turn much better, I don't run wide and the new setting seems to give me better rear grip but is also good for tyre life too. I was comfortable on the hard tyre bu t I hadn't used the soft tyre since yesterday morning, so I didn't really know the potential of it. On the first tyre I was almost a second quicker, put the second tyre in and it didn't give the same confidence for some reason. On the last one I felt better and I'm happy with the lap time but it is so tight at the top that just a couple of tenths costs you a lot of places. Seventh is not where I want to be but everybody is going fast. I think anybody from third to ninth will be thinking they can get on the podium and I'm one of them. We've seen though on this track that the field can spread out pretty quick and if it does I hope to be at the sharp end."
-source: tech 3