Toseland and Edwards hoping for double celebration in Australia James Toseland boosted his hopes of celebrating his 28th birthday in style tomorrow after he qualified his Tech 3 Yamaha in a superb fifth place on the grid for the Australian...
Toseland and Edwards hoping for double celebration in Australia
James Toseland boosted his hopes of celebrating his 28th birthday in style tomorrow after he qualified his Tech 3 Yamaha in a superb fifth place on the grid for the Australian MotoGP race. The British rider was in sparkling form in gloriously sunny conditions to miss out on a maiden pole position by only 0.366s. And a second front row start of his impressive rookie campaign only eluded him by 0.2s, with a determined Toseland able to lap close to the leading times on race and qualifying tyres.
Toseland, who won on his last race appearance at the spectacular Phillip Island circuit at the 2007 World Superbike event, is confident he can challenge for a podium finish having taken full advantage of the improved conditions today to fine-tune the race set-up on his YZR-M1 machine. Minor adjustments in race trim reaped big dividends this afternoon with Toseland able to lap comfortably in the high 1.30 bracket.
Edwards warmed up for his 100th MotoGP appearance in tomorrow's 27-lap race with a solid performance to finish seventh quickest with a best lap of 1.29.513. The American led the session after running his first Michelin qualifying tyre, and although he was able to improve his lap time by 0.5s, he missed the second row by just 0.236s having looked on course to claim his first second row start since the Assen race in late June until the closing moments. Edwards is still confident of a strong race following an impressive showing this morning when he was fifth quickest in final free practice.
James Toseland - Position 5th Time 1'29.031 - 25 laps
"For once it feels nice to be slightly miserable because I know I could have been on the front row. I went wide at the second corner and I had a bit of a slide coming out of Siberia on my last qualifier but I came across the line and saw a 29 flat. I was pleased with that, but when I saw the front row was a 28.7 and pole was a 28.6, I realised I could have perhaps got pole being only three-tenths off even with a couple of mistakes. At least it is nice to know where I lost those three-tenths and that with a bit more time I could have found them rather than wondering where I need to make up time on the quick guys. I've got to thank my guys at Tech 3 because we have worked well all weekend. The bike has been brilliant in the dry and it is a long time since I have come to such a familiar track and been comfortable with the bike. And when it all comes together it is a great feeling to show people what I'm capable of. If I can't do well at these tracks then I'm in trouble.
"So it is nice to prove that on a track I've got some experience on with this bike, I can get the job done. We have got a great set-up for the race having made a small change on the rear. The new setting helped me use the tyre a bit better on the corner exit, so rather than spinning and going sideways it was just hooking up a bit better and on these long apex corners it is better for the tyre life, which is crucial at this track. If we can get a good start, there is no reason why I can't run at the front. It is an exciting prospect because it has been a long time since I've been able to push at the front, and that's all I came to MotoGP for. Looking at the times it could be a cracking race and I will be giving it my all to celebrate my birthday with a good result."
Colin Edwards - Position 7th Time 1'29.513 - 24 laps
"I thought it was going to be much better after I got fifth this morning when I was really happy. We just reverted back to our standard setting this morning and instantly I felt good. I was running a good pace and I felt really confident for qualifying. But we had to change bikes for this afternoon and I just didn't have the same feel. Normally changing bikes isn't a big deal, but I think on a track like this where everything is so fast and it all feels so sensitive, I felt the change a lot more. It just felt rigid and I couldn't get much feel. And when you have got push so much harder on the qualifying tyres, it is hard to go fast when you don't have feel. After all that happened, to come out of it with seventh, I'm actually really happy. It could have been a lot worse given how uncomfortable I felt so I can't complain too much.
"I'm still looking forward to tomorrow and I believe I can get in the fight, because it is crucial to hang in the slipstream around here. It's my 100th Grand Prix tomorrow and I've had some memorable moments since 2003. Hopefully I can make tomorrow one of them."