The Tech 3 Yamaha team made a fast start to its home race at the historic Le Mans circuit in France today with Colin Edwards posting the third fastest time in the opening free practice sessions. Edwards led the session for a long period as he...
The Tech 3 Yamaha team made a fast start to its home race at the historic Le Mans circuit in France today with Colin Edwards posting the third fastest time in the opening free practice sessions. Edwards led the session for a long period as he moved to the top of the timesheets after just 16 minutes. It was over 30 minutes later before he was overhauled in the closing minutes, but the Tech 3 rider was happy with a significant improvement in rear grip helped by a set-up change he first tried in China. Today's result boosted Edwards' confidence of extending his impressive record at the Le Mans circuit. The 4.185km track has been a happy hunting ground for Edwards, who scored the first pole position of his career in Le Mans a year ago. The circuit was also the scene of his first Yamaha podium in 2005. James Toseland was 15th fastest on a difficult first day for the British rider. Le Mans is the third in a run of five tracks that Toseland has no previous experience of, and he spent the majority of today mastering the circuit, while also trying to optimise the set-up of his YZR-M1 machine.
He clocked a best time of 1.35.848, but is confident that overnight set-up changes to find more rear grip will help move him much further up the field tomorrow.
Colin Edwards 3rd 1'34.287
"It's a case of so far so good. I got my first pole position here and my first podium for Yamaha but we have yet to win one so that's what we need to focus on. I kept the China set-up that was a bit foreign for us there just to play around with it and it works really good here too, and I think we have already got a race tyre. My best lap was on the 16th lap of a race tyre and I did 25 laps on another rear tyre, so we have pretty much got a race tyre sorted which is good and I'm not stressing about that at all. The biggest thing we have been concentrating on is traction. In the first three races we never had a problem with traction and in China we had a big problem. So with the big change we made in China it is working better. I tried the standard setting first this morning but as soon as I went to the China set-up I was faster immediately. The bike is a bit more nervous and twitchy under acceleration and I don't feel as smooth as I normally do, but I've got traction. If we can save the tyre by not spinning it as much and actually getting load on it and getting grip then I don't mind it moving around a bit.
When I came here for the first time in 2003 I hated this place with a passion, but since I joined Yamaha I really clicked with it. The handling characteristics of the bike really help at this track. This is obviously the team's home race and I'm desperate to put on a good show for them, and today was a good start."
James Toseland 15th 1'35.848
"I started off strong this morning but we pretty much hit a brick wall this afternoon. We tried a new direction with the set-up and it was the wrong way, so it was a bit frustrating. It's not the end of the world because we have got some good ideas for tomorrow. We know the direction that we went in was wrong and it was quite a lot wrong to be honest with how it was finding the grip. I just didn't have enough weight on the rear and I couldn't find any grip off the corners. It was spinning up a lot and I couldn't drive off the longer corners and that's what cost me in China too. We really need to improve in this area because entry speed and mid-corner I'm not too bad, its just we are losing all the time on the exit. I'm on full throttle and I can't do anymore. Luckily my comments are the same as what the computer is saying so we know where we went wrong and my guys will sort it out as they always do. Valentino pushes his rear tyre forward in the swingarm and we might have to do that to get more weight on the tyre. Maybe I need to run a softer rear spring in the shock too so it loads up a bit quicker.
I really like the track. It is a lot shorter so I can do a lot more laps. I'm doing ten more laps in an hour than I was in China. I was 1.6s off on the first day in Estoril and China and it's the same today, though I'm finding it harder with the set-up than at those last two races. But with the changes we've got planned I can make up a lot of time and I'm still optimistic of getting a good result for the team in what is a very important race for them."
-credit: tech 3 yamaha