Edwards sixth, Toseland ninth in baking hot Barcelona The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team was left pondering what might have been after a dramatic qualifying session for tomorrow's Catalunya MotoGP race. American Colin Edwards looked on course to...
Edwards sixth, Toseland ninth in baking hot Barcelona
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team was left pondering what might have been after a dramatic qualifying session for tomorrow's Catalunya MotoGP race.
American Colin Edwards looked on course to equal his best grid position of the year when he held fifth place until a late crash, while James Toseland ended the session in a season best ninth, but less than one tenth off a brilliant top five.
Edwards will start from sixth place on the grid for the fourth time in 2009, despite a crash in the final five minutes when he lost the front-end of his YZR-M1 machine at Turn Four. The American occupied fifth position when he crashed out unhurt, but fortunately he only slipped one place down the rankings. The 35-year-old made big progress today in solving a front-end feel issue that dogged him during practice, but the Texan is still not 100 per cent comfortable with the front setting of his YZR-M1 machine and will work closely with his crew tonight to find further improvements ahead of tomorrow's 25-lap race.
Toseland easily enjoyed his best qualifying session of the 2009 campaign. The British rider showed the form that carried him to a top six finish in last year's Montmelo race in a closely contested session, with just 1.8s splitting the top 17 riders at the chequered flag. The 28-year-old clocked a best time of 1.43.233 on his last lap to claim a place on the third row, but he was just 0.094s away from fifth place Toni Elias on a scorching hot afternoon that saw air temperatures nudge an energy-sapping 40 degrees.
Colin Edwards 6th 1.43.168 - 20 laps
"I guess I'm pretty fortunate to have finished on the second row considering I crashed out at the crucial stage of the session. We made some changes overnight to help me get more comfortable with the front-end and while it was better, I'm still not close to the comfort level I need to go as fast as I know I can. I'm still not comfortable in the middle of the corner and I can't get it to turn or hold a line. Even when I was on the soft tyres towards the end I still didn't feel like I could push too hard. I'm normally really smooth but I can't ride like that right now. Luckily I'd done a pretty decent time on my first two softer tyres because on the last one I crashed out. The crash was a bit weird because I lost the front really early while I was still hard braking and leaning over. Normally when I lose the front it's at the apex when I'm starting to force the front. If I'm being honest, on race tyres I'm not that confident because of the set-up issue with the front. I k now Valentino, Jorge and Casey are all running a good pace and it's crucial to get a good start and try and tag onto the back of them. I'd love to say I'm going to be on the podium tomorrow, which is what I had aspirations of, but it's looking difficult. As always though I'll be giving it my all for Monster Yamaha Tech 3."
James Toseland 9th 1.43.233 - 24 laps
"I can't believe I'm saying this after the season I've had but I'm frustrated with my best qualifying result of the season. To finish under a tenth off fifth and be down in ninth is frustrating though, but at least I'm frustrated to be close to fifth and not fifteenth! At the start of the session I was out on used tyres and with the temperature being so hot it was quite difficult to find grip. But it was good to get information on the extra hard tyre in that heat for the race. On my last run I had a new front and rear, so it was difficult to get a good feeling straightaway with the front. In the last two corners on my last lap I had two big moments on the front and without doubt that cost me fifth place. Going into the last two corners I'd have been fifth, but at least at that pace I feel really comfortable because I can do that time with a couple of issues. MotoGP is now so close that a tenth has cost me four places on the grid. It's a shame that I'm not on the second row because the way I'm riding and the way the team is working, we deserve to be a bit higher up, but we've all done a great job today and I've got a good chance in the race tomorrow. It's my best qualifying of the year, so hopefully I can capitalise on it and give Monster Yamaha Tech 3 a good result."