French GP: Tech 3 Yamaha race report

Edwards fights back for super seventh, Toseland back in top ten Colin Edwards produced a rousing fight back in an incident-packed French Grand Prix today, the American claiming a deserved seventh place for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team in its...

Edwards fights back for super seventh, Toseland back in top ten

Colin Edwards produced a rousing fight back in an incident-packed French Grand Prix today, the American claiming a deserved seventh place for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team in its home race.

And on the 20th anniversary of the Tech 3 Team competing in the Grand Prix world championship, British rider James Toseland secured a determined ninth in a gripping flag-to-flag encounter over 28-laps.

Texan Edwards was left to rue a missed opportunity to claim a second successive podium in Le Mans after a disappointing start from sixth on the grid in wet conditions. But once he'd switched to his Monster Yamaha YZR-M1 fitted with slick tyres on lap 11 as the track dried rapidly, the 35-year-old produced a stunning surge through the field.

He passed team-mate Toseland with five laps remaining and at the end he was just over two seconds away from the top six having set the third fastest lap of the race in his brilliant late attack in front of 75,903 fans.

Toseland showed more of his true potential in today's race, which started under grey and gloomy skies but ended in sunny conditions. The British rider set a stunning pace on wet tyres in the early stages and fought his way through from 12th on the grid to seventh. He changed bikes to slick tyres as conditions improved on lap seven and for a while he closely pursued Australian duo Casey Stoner and Chris Vermeulen.

He eventually claimed his second top ten finish of the campaign, his ninth position in his first taste of a flag-to-flag MotoGP race another encouraging sign that the 28-year-old is making big progress with the set-up of his YZR-M1 machine.

Colin Edwards 7th - 35 points

"I'm really disappointed because it was definitely a missed opportunity today for a podium. In the first part of the race on the wet tyres I just couldn't get the bike to turn. I'd lost so many places I was nearly at the back and I just wasn't comfortable. The bike was just sitting on the rear and I had no weight on the front, so I couldn't get into the corner. I saw some guys come into the pits and I thought it was a couple of laps too early because there were still some wet patches out there. I waited for a bit and came in and on the first couple of laps back out of the pits I lost so much time again. I was on the hard front tyre because I can't run the soft compound and it took a while to get some heat into it. I had a couple of moments but once it came good, it came really good and I got my head down. I think only Jorge (Lorenzo) was lapping faster than me and once I got my pace going I was catching people pretty quickly. To only finish seventh is a bit frustrating when you look at my times in the dry. At the end of the day I rode a good second half of the race. But the first half wasn't great and that cost me. I'm confident for Mugello though and hopefully we'll get plenty of dry track time."

James Toseland 9th 17 points

"That was pretty eventful and my team did a great job for the change of bikes. I've never been in a flag-to-flag race before and it is definitely different. There's no time to lose concentration in the pits because everything is still happening so quickly. And when you go out on a damp track on slicks you can't lose focus. The team told me they were going to put 'OK' on the board as soon as the first person came in, and though nobody was coming in around me, I felt I came in at the right time. It's always a risk because there were a couple of corners where it was still quite damp, but for two-thirds of the track you definitely needed slick tyres. My pace on the slicks at the start was really good and I was seventh at one point. But I was on the soft front tyre and it kept getting hotter and hotter and the stronger front harder tyre was what I needed. When I was trying to stay with Colin at the end I just didn't have the front grip unfortunately. It was nice to be fighting up there again but on the other hand a bit frustrating because I think we could have had a seventh. It's not the best finish but I really feel we have made a step forward here and my team is working great. As long as we can keep working like this I'm really looking forward to the next few races."

Herve Poncharal -- Team Manager

"Unfortunately a race that promised so much for us ended a little disappointingly, but Colin and James still did Tech 3 proud in our home race, which had extra significance because of our 20th anniversary. We have to think that we missed something big. We'd said that top five would be a dream but we could see from Colin's brilliant pace in the dry that had he started better when it was wet he could have had another podium in Le Mans. Colin struggled with some issues in the wet but as soon as he switched to the dry bike he was the fastest rider on track at some points and for sure a top three was a possibility. It's a pity for him but he showed his potential in the dry. I'm really happy with James. The whole weekend he has shown a big improvement compared to the first three races and it was by far the best race of the season for him. We knew he wasn't going to recover from the problems of the winter so quickly, but step-by-step he is showing his true potential. Hopefully for Mugello we won't have any rain and the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team can get a strong result."

-credit: tech 3

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Colin Edwards , James Toseland , Chris Vermeulen , Casey Stoner , Herve Poncharal
Teams Tech 3