Colin Edwards came within a whisker of handing the Tech 3 Yamaha team a fifth front row start in six races for tomorrow's Italian MotoGP race in Mugello. Edwards ended today's qualifying session in fifth place, but was only 0.070s off extending...
Colin Edwards came within a whisker of handing the Tech 3 Yamaha team a fifth front row start in six races for tomorrow's Italian MotoGP race in Mugello. Edwards ended today's qualifying session in fifth place, but was only 0.070s off extending his remarkable front row starting record in 2008 with another impressive display on Michelin's qualifying tyres.
Edwards seemed certain to be on the front row when he claimed third with only five seconds left on the clock in what was the first full dry session of a weather-hit weekend. Loris Capirossi and Casey Stoner though denied Edwards after he'd posted a 1.48.383. Edwards, who had led the way earlier after using his first Michelin qualifying tyre, is confident he can challenge for a second successive podium in tomorrow's race, despite minimal time to find a good dry set-up due to the inclement weather conditions that dominated free practice.
James Toseland once again belied his lack of track experience to clock the eighth best time, just one place behind early title contender Jorge Lorenzo. Robbed of crucial dry track time to fine tune his YZR-M1 set-up, while also learning the challenging Mugello circuit, Toseland finished just 0.895s off pole position.
Colin Edwards 5th 1'48.383;
"Missing the front row like that is a bit of a shame but I've got to be happy. It would have been nice to get on the front row but I still feel like I can be up with the guys tomorrow. I put my first qualifier in early just in case it rained and I did a 48.7 and told my team 'we can do a 47.' You are talking about finding another seven tenths but I'd made a few little mistakes. I thought we could do it but just missed out at the end. Hats off to my team and Yamaha because I'm feeling good as far as race set-up goes and I think we have got the right tyre from Michelin. Tyres are going to be more critical than ever and I think we've got to be a bit cautious in the beginning.
"We'll have to stay with the guys but I don't think we can go too crazy with the tyres. We've got to do 23 laps and none of us have had chance to endurance test tyres so that just adds to the intrigue. Michelin have been doing a great job so I'm confident. I have never in my entire life been this happy at this track though. To have confidence is one thing, but then to come to a track that you have never done any good on and do well, that just amplifies the confidence feeling. You realise the tyres and the bike are working like a dream because every year I've been to this track I've had chatter, and now I don't have chatter and the bike works unbelievably. Hopefully I can get away with the guys tomorrow because with that slipstream on the straight you can hang in there. I feel really happy with my gearing off the last corner and that is the most important corner on the whole track, because if you lose that slipstream its tough to get back in the group unless they start holding each other up."
James Toseland 8th 1'49.025;
"To finish less than a second off pole when you consider all the time we have lost due to the weather is a great result for me.I'm relieved to be honest because when it started dry this morning, the dry set-up we had was quite a long way off. It was really hard to ride with that setting and we have changed the bike a lot and gone to a set-up close to what Colin is running. The bike feels a bit more stable now. I think for a tighter track the set-up I had wasn't going to be too bad. But on a fast and flowing track like this it was a little bit nervous so we just changed the front a bit. Now we haven't got a bad set-up, but I have only had 10 laps on a decent set-up. With the set-up and lack of knowledge of the track, to be a less than a second is not bad. Fair play to my team because we did a lot of work and fortunately for me the new set-up is a good direction to go in. This afternoon I only really had 30 minutes to work on the race set-up because you spend 30 minutes on the qualifiers. I made some mistakes because on all these new tracks, with the qualifiers you need to be so precise and I haven't quite mastered exactly where you need to be on the track with them.
"I'm still not getting the best out of the qualifiers. It is such a long lap and I kept coming out of a couple of corners going slightly wide and then you can forget about the lap time because a small mistake costs you corner speed at the next turn. I just suffer a bit of a lack of track knowledge but the bike and the tyres are working great. I just need to get a good start because the slipstream here can really help you get a good result."