Toseland and Edwards off to flying start in Qatar Tech 3 Yamaha riders James Toseland and Colin Edwards got the 2008 MotoGP season off to a flying start in Qatar tonight, ending the opening night of practice with the third and fourth fastest ...
Toseland and Edwards off to flying start in Qatar
Tech 3 Yamaha riders James Toseland and Colin Edwards got the 2008 MotoGP season off to a flying start in Qatar tonight, ending the opening night of practice with the third and fourth fastest times. Just one week after finishing second in the floodlit IRTA test, Toseland managed to knock 1.1s off his best time from the opening session, shrugging off an early crash to make a confident start to preparations for his MotoGP debut on Sunday night. A best lap of 1.55.812 was the third quickest, just 0.370s off the pace of reigning world champion Casey Stoner.
One place and 0.130s further back was Edwards as Yamaha's improved 2008 YZR-M1 occupied three of the top four places on the combined timesheets. Both Tech 3 riders spent the opening night assessing new Michelin tyres ahead of the 22-lap race, directly comparing the new rubber against the tyres they preferred at last week's two-day test. Sunday's showdown at the Losail International Circuit create history as the first MotoGP race to be held at night.
James Toseland - Position: 3rd Time: 1'55.812 Laps: 21
"I've got to admit that I was a bit nervous before the first session and I don't know why. I've been fine in testing but all of a sudden it dawned on me that this is it - the start of my MotoGP career. I was thinking too much about the unfamiliar things of being in a MotoGP weekend, and after the first session I just needed half-an-hour to chill out. I'm happy with my times and I'm just pleased that I have done similar things to what I did in the test. There was a lot of hype coming into the first race after my testing results and its nice to back it up when everybody is watching and its all official. It proves I can do well in this class. The track was dusty and dirty in the first session and I was using softer compound tyres just to get a feeling for the conditions. When I put the better tyres in I instantly had a good feeling, but I wanted to do a 1.55 on my second lap. I went into the corner too hard and should have waited a bit longer to build up my speed. I just lost the front. I've got to say hats off to Michelin and Yamaha. I don't know how much Michelin improved from last year, but I know how much they have improved since I started in November and it has been a massive step. And for Yamaha to have three bikes in the top four shows they are working very hard."
Colin Edwards - Position: 4th Time: 1'55.942 Laps: 24
"Tonight was pretty good. I haven't even touched the bike from the test and it is working great. The temperature was a bit higher than at the test in the first session and to be honest it was hard to learn a lot or get good information because the temperature will be a lot cooler at race time. The second session I tried three tyres. I was pretty sure I'd found a good race tyre but now I'm not so sure. I put the last of the three in at the end and I didn't have high hopes for it all. But you can never discount anything until you try it. It ended up being the best tyre I tried and I did my best time on it, so I'm pleased with the way the bike is working. The goal is to get on the front row. My bike excels in turning and we've really got to be fast in the first three sections, because we are just lacking a little bit of speed on the straight. If we can start from the front row then we have a chance of getting a good result."