After eventful Jerez qualifying
Tech 3 Yamaha rider Colin Edwards emerged from an eventful Spanish GP qualifying session this afternoon with the third fastest time to maintain his 100 per cent front row starting record in 2008.
The American ran into the gravel trap
and then produced an early contender for save of the season at turn one before logging a best lap of 1.38.954 to secure a second successive front row clean sweep for Michelin this season.
A dramatic session for Edwards began when he ran off track at the Curva Dry Sack after six minutes. He then produced a memorable moment just 17 minutes later, somehow producing a miraculous save when he lost the front of his Yamaha YZR-M1 at the first corner. Digging his right knee and elbow into the tarmac, Edwards saved the big front tyre slide, much to the delight of fans packed in the trackside grandstand.
Edwards has now finished in the top three in every session so far in Jerez this weekend, raising expectations that he can clinch a second successive Spanish GP podium in tomorrow's 27-lap race.
“It was very, very eventful to say the least. I was in the gravel once, somehow saved myself from crashing at the first corner and still managed to get on the front row. After all that I had to get on the front row for the team. My guys at Tech 3 and Yamaha have been awesome and they are doing a great job”, he said. “I started the session with a rear tyre that had a few laps on it but with a new front. But a few laps in the bike didn't feel perfect. I came in and put a new rear in and I just got a little bit carried away. I started pushing and obviously got into turn one too hot.
It went, came back, went away again and I thought I was down. I tried to dig my elbow in but it kept going so I kind of lifted my arm up and pulled it up on the handlebars. And it came back somehow. The crowd loved it anyway. I've done it a few times but this is the first time it has been caught on camera. I was a bit upset with the first incident. I was pushing and I saw Jorge Lorenzo in front of me and I thought he was on a new rear tyre. I'd done 15 laps on mine but I still wanted to keep him in sight. I came to the end of the back straight and I knew the second I hit the brakes I was running off. I just thought ‘oh no, this is about ten metres too deep' and off I went into the gravel. This is my second front row and I'm ready for the race. My pace for the race was a bit better this morning when it was a bit cooler, but we are still looking good."
Weakened by a severe bout of bronchitis, team-mate James Toseland produced a performance full of grit and determination, and he was only 0.3s off the front row.
He clocked a best lap of 1.39.334 to finish just 0.048s behind reigning world champion Casey Stoner in eighth position. Far from being in peak condition, Toseland is still determined to become the first British rider since 1990 to claim successive top six finishes in MotoGP tomorrow afternoon.
"I'm disappointed with eighth after I got a front row in Qatar but I am rough. I don't like to make excuses but I am not feeling at my best at all. To be only three-tenths off the front row and eighth is a bit frustrating. I'm losing three-tenths just with the way I'm feeling. But when you feel this rough it just shows that if you are not fully on it you can be eighth pretty easy because it is so close. I feel a bit better than yesterday and hopefully my condition will have improved a bit more tomorrow for the race, but I've never taken so many drugs in my life”, he commented. “It will be a tough race in my condition but my guys are doing a great job and I'm sure the bike will be great. I feel for the team because I'm not feeling on top of the world. It is so close though. Jorge did an unbelievable lap but from second to thirteenth the gap is less than a second. I don't think I've ever seen anything that close in all the classes I've raced in. It is unbelievably competitive. We have a good direction for the race set-up tomorrow but the tyres will be critical. We are just trying to pick the best one for the endurance because the temperature is a lot higher than when we tested here. It is unusually high for this time of year and I think we could do with something a bit stronger. But everybody is in the same boat. Colin showed what this package is capable of but I paid the price for not feeling too great. But credit to Colin because he got the job done.”