Edwards and Spies battle the elements at Phillip Island Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders Colin Edwards and Ben Spies battled treacherous conditions at the start of the Australian MotoGP weekend today as strong winds and heavy rain battered the...
Edwards and Spies battle the elements at Phillip Island
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders Colin Edwards and Ben Spies battled treacherous conditions at the start of the Australian MotoGP weekend today as strong winds and heavy rain battered the awe-inspiring Phillip Island circuit.
Famous for its unpredictable weather, today's conditions could not have been a bigger contrast to those experienced last weekend in Sepang where Edwards and Spies coped with extreme tropical heat and humidity during the Malaysian Grand Prix. Air and track temperature this afternoon though only just hit a chilly ten degrees.
The American duo didn't take to the track until nearly two hours afte r the scheduled start at 1.55pm was aborted because of serious disruption caused by atrocious weather conditions.
Standing water lay in several sections of the 4.448km track, but Phillip Island officials worked tirelessly to ensure thousands of windswept and rain-soaked fans got to witness practice in all three Grand Prix classes.
Edwards clocked the eighth best time with a lap of 1.43.1013, the 36-year-old turning the session into a wet weather test to try and improve the set-up of his YZR-M1 in rain conditions.
Spies was content to seek sanctuary in the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team garage for the opening quarter of the session, the Texan only making a brief appearance on track in session dominated by a fierce and unpredictable wind blowing off the nearby Bass Strait.
Spies, who won one race at the 2009 Phillip Island World Superb ike round, completed just three laps before he decided to call it day, the Texan preferring to wait for improved conditions forecast for tomorrow's final practice and qualifying.
Colin Edwards - Position: 8th Time: 1'43.013 Laps: 19
"That's got to be some of the worst conditions you'll ever have to ride in. The track was still wet, it was freezing cold and the wind was blowing at 900mph. But after the delay I guess we were just lucky to even get some time on track. The wind was pretty unpredictable and going into the first corner it was unbelievable. Once you pass the finish line it just blasts you from the right and I had to turn my handlebars while I'm going in a straight line just to fight the wind. And then you have to turn the handlebars back to brake. That is all happening at a fast speed and it is a pretty weird sensation. It was a session where the times don't really matter that much so w e treated it like a wet test. We played around with all kinds of stuff on the bike. So as miserable as the conditions were, it was still a pretty worthwhile session and we learned a few things that can help us in the rain in the future, particularly with the balance of the bike."
Ben Spies - Time: 1'58.613 Laps: 3
"There wasn't a lot to be gained out there today. I did a couple of laps and it is not the rain and the cold, but the wind was so unpredictable it was making it quite dangerous. I couldn't really brake on the right line and to gain anything out there this afternoon I'd have to ride so on the limit that it wasn't worth taking any risks. If it was Saturday morning and it was going to be like this all day I'd have stuck in a full session, but I wasn't going to learn much when the conditions are that bad. I didn't want to risk getting hurt or tearing up any equipment and making the guys have to build up a new bike for tomorrow just because I made a mistake in less than ideal conditions. Hopefully the weather will be better tomorrow and we can get some serious work done because I love this track and am confident of another strong performance in the race."
-source: tech 3