French GP: Tech 3 Yamaha race report

Edwards claims home podium for jubilant Tech 3 Yamaha Colin Edwards stormed to his first podium finish of the season in Le Mans today to hand a jubilant Tech 3 Yamaha squad its first premier class top three finish since 2004. Edwards finished ...

Edwards claims home podium for jubilant Tech 3 Yamaha

Colin Edwards stormed to his first podium finish of the season in Le Mans today to hand a jubilant Tech 3 Yamaha squad its first premier class top three finish since 2004. Edwards finished third in a rain-affected 28-lap race to give Tech 3 its first home podium since 2003, while the American also helped Yamaha to its first clean sweep of the rostrum since 2001.

Starting from the front row of the grid for the fourth time in five races, the American was immediately in contention for the lead as he pursued reigning world champion Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa. Relegated to fourth by eventual Valentino Rossi on lap four, Edwards then spent 15 laps closely pursuing Stoner and Pedrosa, and in the process he clocked the second fastest lap of the race. Rain started to fall on lap 16, dampening the track at certain points, though not hard enough for a second successive flag-to-flag race to be played out in front of a large French crowd. Edwards briefly slipped back to fifth on lap 20, but he moved back into fourth when Stoner encountered technical problems and secured his ninth podium when he passed Pedrosa on lap 22. The result helped move Edwards into fifth place in the points, while Tech 3 Yamaha is now level on points with Ducati's factory squad in the Team World Championship standings.

James Toseland's Le Mans debut ended in disappointment after the British rider crashed out of ninth place following a tangle with Andrea Dovizioso on lap three. Toseland had made a fantastic start to jump to fifth by the end of the first lap, but in the frantic early exchanges slipped back to ninth before he crashed unhurt.

Colin Edwards 3rd +6.805;

"I honestly thought that today was going to be my day with the pace I'd been able to run all weekend. I was fastest in free practice, fastest in the warm-up and second on the grid so I had high expectations. I really thought I could have got my first win out there, but I'll still settle for third because it was a tough race. I thought I'd got a good start and then Casey and Dani came flying by and it was almost impossible to pass them. I tried everything, but they just didn't make any mistakes and I couldn't get close enough. I wanted to get by them because looking at my lap times I know I had more in the locker, but I couldn't pass. They just had the jump on me coming out of the corners with acceleration and it would have taken a risky move for me to do it.

"I'm an experienced rider and those guys are fighting for the world title while I'm in fifth, so I wasn't going to do anything stupid. And when Valentino came blazing by like a cowboy with his guns shooting I knew he was going to push hard and that it would be tough for me. Casey had a problem and I got by him and then I passed Dani, as he seemed to check a bit at the first corner because of the rain. I didn't think the rain was that bad and the lap times were not that much slower. I got to say a huge thanks to my team because I've wanted to give them a podium, and I guess there is no better to do it than in their home race. They've worked so hard and I'm glad to give them that podium. Congratulations to Yamaha as well because to have a 1-2-3 is fantastic. My Michelin tyres worked great too, so hopefully next time I can be closer to the win."

James Toseland DNF;

"I'm pretty frustrated because a little mistake ruins all the hard work myself and the team have put in. I wish I could have a second go at it now like you get in World Superbikes! I got a great start and really wanted to try and get away with the leaders but I lost a couple of places when John Hopkins came by with a hard but fair move. Andrea then made a small mistake and went slightly wide at the fourth corner and as I tried to go underneath him he came back on line and took my front wheel. It was just a racing incident but very disappointing because after that good start I felt like I could have got a good result.

"I'm already looking forward to coming back strongly at Mugello and having done a bit of testing there before it won't be completely alien for me. Congratulations to Colin because he has been awesome all weekend. He has been on the pace since pre-season testing and he's deserved that podium, as has the team for all their effort. It was great for Yamaha to dominate the podium so it proves what great work was done in the winter.

Herve Poncharal Team Manager;

"It has been a fantastic weekend for Tech 3 and for Yamaha. It has been a long time since our last podium and we had almost forgotten what it was like to celebrate after the race! But Colin has done a great job and I want to thank him for that. He almost got pole position yesterday but second was great and in qualifying this year he has been incredible. We knew it was going to be a tough race because this is a high calibre championship and to get a podium against such quality opposition is a great achievement, and all the more satisfying because this is our home race. Colin never gave up and in the end he was rewarded because he rode a sensible but fast race. It was an exceptional day for Yamaha and congratulations to them and Masao Furusawa. The Yamaha staff put in a tremendous amount of effort over the winter after a tough 2007 so to claim all the places on the podium is incredible.

"We are not 100 percent happy because of James' crash but we always knew this was going to be a tough part of the season but he did a good job in qualifying and his start was very impressive. He was right in the heart of the battle and riding well before the incident. I am 100 per cent confident things will get better for him and I believe today he could have finished around sixth. He is a true champion and I know he will never give up."

-credit: yamaha-racing.com

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Series MotoGP
Drivers Valentino Rossi , Colin Edwards , John Hopkins , James Toseland , Andrea Dovizioso , Casey Stoner , Herve Poncharal , Dani Pedrosa