Edwards and Spies target improvements in hot Sepang Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders Colin Edwards and Ben Spies are optimistic they can make big set-up improvements ahead of Sunday's Malaysian MotoGP race after an encouraging start in ...
Edwards and Spies target improvements in hot Sepang
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders Colin Edwards and Ben Spies are optimistic they can make big set-up improvements ahead of Sunday's Malaysian MotoGP race after an encouraging start in Sepang.
Boosted by a season best fifth place in Japan last weekend, Edwards spent the majority of a closely contested opening free practice session concentrating on improving front and rear grip with his YZR-M1 machine.
Edwards is a seasoned campaigner at the 5.548km Sepang circuit but he needed to call on all his experience to improve traction during a session that saw air temperatures peak at a gruelling 38 degrees. Scorching hot conditions mak e Sepang one of the most physically and mentally demanding challenges on the calendar with humidity and temperatures posing a serious examination of rider stamina.
Edwards made several set-up changes to the front and rear suspension of his YZR-M1 machine on his way to recording the sixth quickest time, a lap of 2.03.393 only 0.055s away from the top five.
Ben Spies arrived in Kuala Lumpur confident that he would be competitive from the off having impressed in two visits to the long and technical circuit during the winter testing campaign.
The 26-year-old quickly established himself in the top ten and like Edwards dedicated most of his time working on improving front and rear grip as a slippery track surface meant conditions were far from ideal this afternoon.
He occupied a place in the top four in the early stages before a la p of 2.03.477 left him ninth on the timesheets but less than a tenth away from the top six.
Today's session was a closely contested affair with less than a second covering the top 12.
Colin Edwards - Position: 6th - Time: 2'03.393 - Laps: 18
"It's nice to start the weekend at the front again and this was a good session, with Valentino fast from the beginning. It seems he has a good pace here but of course it's only the first session and we have more work to do. The track isn't in great condition; it's quite slippery at the moment but this will improve throughout the weekend. Tomorrow we will work on our Bridgestone tyre choice and fine-tune the setting ahead of qualifying."
Ben Spies - Position: 9th - Time: 2'03.477 - Laps: 24
"The track hasn't been used for a while and our first impression is that there's not much grip and it's quite slippery. We tried two different settings to try to work around this but in fact they were both quite similar. We expect it to be better tomorrow but of course we can't just rely on the track improving, we need to work on our setting as well. Anyway we were still fast today, the speed is okay and we're close to the front so we're already competitive, we just need to improve our package a bit more tomorrow."