Jubilant Edwards claims fantastic fifth overall
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Colin Edwards produced a stunning final race in Valencia today to clinch a dramatic fifth place in the final 2009 MotoGP world championship standings.
Starting from fifth on the grid in front of 94,177 vocal Spanish fans, all eyes were on the Texan and his fight for fifth in the points-standings with Andrea Dovizioso.
In sunny but blustery conditions, the Texas Tornado held fifth place until lap seven when he passed Toni Elias to move into fourth. At the time, Dovizioso was back in 11th.
Edwards maintained an impressive pace to sit comfortably in fourth position and remain on course for fifth overall. But Dovizoso then produced a dazzling charge through the field to move into seventh position on lap 16.
That meant fifth place would go to Dovizioso with no further position changes. But there was one final dramatic twist in arguably Edwards' best ever MotoGP campaign, thanks to new Monster Yamaha Yamaha Tech 3 rider Ben Spies.
The Texan's brilliant Yamaha debut ended with him passing Dovizioso on lap 25, a move that secured Edwards his hard earned but thoroughly deserved fifth place in the final points tally.
British rider James Toseland produced a gallant ride in his final appearance for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team that saw him in contention for a top ten finish throughout the 30-lap encounter.
A stunning start and skilled overtaking on the first lap saw him climb into 11th position and he was lock ed in a thrilling dice with Spies, Dovizioso, Mika Kallio, Alex de Angelis and Marco Melandri in the first half of the race.
But a small rear tyre issue prevented Toseland from maintaining his fast and consistent pace and he slipped back to finish 12th.
Colin Edwards - Position: 4thTime: +32.515
"Things really fell my way today but over the course of the season I feel like I really deserve fifth place in the championship. At best I was thinking I could finish fifth in the race but then I saw Casey wasn't on the grid and immediately I thought 'well, there's some more points up for grabs.' I got a great start and the bike was working awesome but those three out front were untouchable. I don't know how they do it, what they've got or what they eat for breakfast, but I couldn't run their pace. In the middle of the race I couldn't carry the corner speed I wanted to so I tried to smooth myself out and just rode out of my skin. I was doing the best I could but wasn't sure where Dovizioso was. It turns out Ben got by him and that point proved crucial. I gave him a big bug after the race and anything he wants me to buy him, he can have it. I'm glad he adapted so quickly to the Yamaha because him riding so well is what got me that fifth overall and I'm really looking forward to working with him. To finish fifth in the championship is a great feeling when you look at the talent in front of me. I was consistent all season and feel like I rode some of my best races to get this final position. I'm happy for myself and for my guys at Monster Yamaha Tech 3. We are a really close unit and they always give me 100 per cent, so hopefully they can take a lot of satisfaction out of this result as well. I wish James all the best for the future too and am convinced he can carry on Yamaha's success in World Superbikes."
James Toseland - Position: 12thTime: +50.226
"I really enjoyed my last race. I wanted to give my team everything I had and I'm proud to say I did that. I had a good first few laps and took a few risks with not a lot of temperature in the tyres and got myself into a good position. But unfortunately on about lap 15 the rear tyre turned on the rim and I wasn't able to keep the pace and stay in the bunch that were battling for seventh place. I'd like to congratulate Colin for fifth in the championship because he has done a brilliant job. I'd like to thank everybody working with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team for all the effort and support they have given me. I've had an absolutely fantastic time with them and I'll take a lot of interest in how they perform in the future. I've made a lot of friends in MotoGP and at Tech 3 and the team will always hold a special place in my heart. Now I've got to look to the futu re and I do so relishing a new challenge with Yamaha."
Herve Poncharal - Team Manager
"I can't congratulate Colin enough for the amazing job he has done this season. To finish behind those four guys is an incredible feat and one that gives the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team a lot of pride to have been involved in helping achieving fifth position in the championship for him. He has been consistent all year long and hardly ever outside the top six, and I would say this has been his best ever season. I'm so happy he is still with us next year because he brings so much to the team. Not just in terms of his results but his personality has been a great asset to the team, Yamaha and MotoGP. The sport needs more people like Colin and I can't wait for next season when we have the full Texan team. I am really excited about the prospect of working with Ben. What he did this weekend w as amazing. By passing Dovizioso as well he did a great favour to Colin and a great job for our team. I also want pass on my heartfelt thanks to James for all his hard work since he joined us at the end of 2007. We've had some up and downs but he brought a lot to the team. He is a true gentleman and he has been one of the hardest working and highly motivated riders ever to be at Tech 3. He has plenty to proud of in MotoGP. He is staying in the Yamaha family and I would like to wish him all the best in 2010. I'm sure he will keep Yamaha on top in World Superbikes."
-credit: tech 3