Top six for Edwards, Toseland boosted by seventh in Mugello thriller Brilliant wet and dry weather performances from Colin Edwards and James Toseland handed the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 squad a deserved double top ten finish in an enthralling ...
Top six for Edwards, Toseland boosted by seventh in Mugello thriller
Brilliant wet and dry weather performances from Colin Edwards and James Toseland handed the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 squad a deserved double top ten finish in an enthralling flag-to-flag Italian MotoGP race in Mugello today. In what turned out to be a carbon copy of the French MotoGP race in Le Mans two weeks ago, today's 23-lap race started on a wet track, but a dry line quickly started to appear as Toseland and Edwards both fought on the fringes of the top ten on full wet Bridgestone tyres.
Unable to find confidence with rear grip as the track dried out, British rider Toseland gambled and pulled into the pits first to switch to his Yamaha YZR-M1 machine fitted with hard front and rear compound slick tyres on lap four. It was a decision that paid off handsomely as Toseland was able to lap over three seconds quicker than the rest of the field. He brilliantly carved his way through from 17th position to find himself embroiled in an exciting duel for sixth place with Frenchman Randy de Puniet from lap 12 onwards. He was able to hold off de Puniet under severe pressure in the last three laps, but lost sixth place to hard charging team-mate Edwards, who in the dry had produced another fantastic fight back from outside of the top ten in front of 81,657 fans.
The American struggled with a small front-end set-up issue on full wet tyres and he didn't pit for his dry YZR-M1 bike until lap nine. Once out on full slicks the 35-year-old surged through superbly from 14th to sixth, overtaking Toseland on the final lap to clock the sixth fastest lap of the race. Edwards is now just 12-points away from fourth place in the world championship standings, while Toseland's best result of 2009 moved him closer to the top ten in the overall points. Today's result consolidated the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team's position as the leading independent team in MotoGP, and the French squad trails Suzuki's factory team by just four-points in the Team World Championship.
Colin Edwards 6th - 45 points
"That race was almost exactly the same as what happened in Le Mans where I was losing time in the wet at the beginning and then charging through from the back in the dry. I don't know why, but when the track is damp or full wet, I've got no confidence with the front. And being a front-end guy, if I've got no feeling then I don't go fast. When I enter the corner I get too much weight transfer to the rear and that makes the front feel really vague. I probably should have come in for my dry bike a couple of laps earlier than I did, but with the hard compound front and rear slick in, it took me a while to get temperature in them and I was having a few moments. I just put my head down and was able to get down to some decent times and to take the positive out of the race I at least came back to finish in the top six because I was way back. But I've got to get this bike fixed for me in the wet because I haven't sorted out that particular puzzle yet."
James Toseland 7th - 26-points
"That's my best result of the season and I'm happy with that because I feel I should be fighting around the top six on a regular basis. I started the race with quite a hard spring in the rear shock and in the first few laps I was in trouble. I hadn't planned on coming into the pits so early for my dry bike but I had no choice. I was losing a lot of time so it was definitely a gamble worth taking. The first couple of laps on slicks were eventful while I was trying to get the hard tyres to temperature, but once I'd got a rhythm going I felt pretty confident and I was pleased I'd decided to come in early. The section of track with the new tarmac was a bit scary because that never dried through the whole race, but you could ride the rest of the track pretty much flat-out and coming in when I did definitely helped gain me a lot of places once I'd picked up my pace. I had a really good dice with Randy and there were a few good overtakes. It's the first race I've enjoyed for a while because for most of it I was fighting for the top six. That's where I was a few times last season and that's where this bike and team deserve to be. Hopefully I can push on in Catalunya."
Herve Poncharal - Team Manager
"It might be hard for Colin and James and the team in a flag-to-flag race, but those kind of races are really exciting and fantastic for the show. You can see lots of different riders running at the front and this makes it very interesting and flag-to-flag is a big bonus for the racing. I'm really pleased with today's result and I want to give special congratulations to James. He has had a very difficult year so far but he's never given up and I'm pleased to see him back where he belongs and fighting for the top six. He was the first one to come into the pits and it was a good decision because for a few laps he was the fastest rider on track and this helped put him a position where he could fight for a good result. He showed a great fighting spirit to battle with Randy and this race will be a big confidence boost for him. It was another good weekend for Colin too. He qualified on the second row and he finished sixth and if he could have solved some of his issues in the wet I'm sure he could have been much higher. I'm convinced that Colin will be on the podium a few times before the end of the year."
-credit: tech 3