An impressive performance from American Colin Edwards saw the Tech 3 rider help Yamaha make a dominant start to the Spanish GP in Jerez today.
Edwards was a central figure throughout the opening day's free practice, claiming the third fastest overall time.
Edwards, who was third in last year's Spanish GP, showed impressive form earlier when he posted the fastest time this morning as the European leg of the 2008 season got underway. Edwards bettered his morning time of 1.40.714 with a 1.40.584 this afternoon, and was only beaten by factory Yamaha duo Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi on combined times.
“I'm really happy with today. I started well this morning with the fastest time, which was good as it showed the work the team did in testing during the winter has paid off. All we really did this morning was work on the electronics trying to make it as consistent as we can. As far as the chassis goes we really didn't do much, but we've got another setting option to try tomorrow just to confirm we are going in the right direction. But I'm happy because instantly I had a good feeling with the bike and was able to do some good lap times”, he explained. “Today just confirmed that this is a really strong track for Yamaha. Valentino and I were on the podium here last year and the bike has a good record in the past. We've got three Yamahas in the top three here today and it was the same in qualifying for Qatar, so Yamaha has really worked hard on improving the bike for this season. I've got one more rear tyre from Michelin to try tomorrow but I think I've already found something decent for the race.
Hopefully the tyre for tomorrow will be another step. As far as the front goes I couldn't be happier with that. Michelin has really improved the front and I've got a lot of confidence.”
Team-mate James Toseland had a tough start to his first European MotoGP clash. Fresh from his stunning debut in Qatar when he claimed a front row start and top six finish, the British rider was badly hampered by a severe bout of bronchitis. But despite a small crash at the second corner this afternoon, Toseland showed his battling qualities again, finishing just 0.707s off the fastest time in eighth.
He underwent lengthy treatment in the Clinica Mobile after this afternoon's session, and is confident he will be close to full fitness for Sunday's 27-lap race.
“Unfortunately I have come down with bronchitis which is just what I need for my second race. I was really bad yesterday and honestly I don't think I'd have been able to ride. I woke up this morning a bit better but after riding twice I've hit a brick wall. I'm drained of energy and my temperature got up to 38.7 degrees, so they were a bit worried about that and put me on a drip in the Clinica Mobile. The problem is I can't take a full breath and just riding breathing at half the normal rate really tires you out quickly because of the lack of oxygen going to your brain”, he commented. “Considering how I feel, to be only 0.7s off is pretty good. I just need to find half-a-second and that can come from me just feeling better. We are in the ballpark and Colin has proved how competitive the package is at this track. The crash was a small mistake. I just pushed a bit too hard on the front in turn two and went down. The grip was better on the front tyre I was using and it just bottomed out on the forks under braking. I should have done a couple of laps and then changed the front suspension setting to cope with the better grip."