Toseland battles to 13th
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team ended a scorching hot Spanish MotoGP race with hard fought points scoring finishes for Colin Edwards and James Toseland.
Texan Edwards starred in one of the most fiercely contested battles of the 27-lap encounter,
dicing throughout with Italian duo Marco Melandri and Loris Capirossi in front of a sun-drenched crowd of 123,340 fans.
Edwards expertly moved his Yamaha YZR-M1 machine by Capirossi to take seventh on lap ten, and four laps later he passed Melandri to set about securing his second top six in the opening three races.
Small issues with his rear suspension setting though saw Edwards lose a superb last lap battle with Capirossi that left him only 1.3s away from a superb top five finish. Today's result though keeps Edwards in the top six in the championship standings and leading non-factory rider.
“I got a really good start but right from the first lap I knew I wasn't going to be able to run the pace I needed. The guys in front just gapped me immediately and I couldn't get the bike to turn”, he said. “We went in the wrong direction yesterday when it was hot, so for the race we went back to the setting I'd had in the morning when the track temperature was a bit cooler. In the cooler temperatures that setting was fine, but once the temperature goes up I just couldn't get into the rhythm I want and know I was capable of. I wanted to be smooth and precise but I couldn't do that. I was having to adjust my style to get some weight on the rear to help the bike turn, but it wasn't enough for me to get into the top six and that's a bit frustrating.”
British rider Toseland rode a determined race to finish 13th, the 28-year-old unable to progress any further through the field as he never found a comfortable set-up on his YZR-M1 machine. He showed his battling qualities though to fend off a persistent challenge from Alex de Angelis.
“It has been a tough weekend and we have got some issues to sort out. We're still trying a few things on the bike and I'm still searching for a comfortable setting over a race distance. I still need a second or so on race pace but I need to sort out qualifying too. I can do the same times as four or five guys in front of me, but when you're all lapping at the same pace, it's hard to come through”, he explained. “I'm giving myself too much to do from qualifying and being too far back. You don't need to be too far off but if you start at the back you stay at the back in a competitive class like this.
It has not been a great start to the season but I don't feel we're that far away. We've got a lot of information from this weekend and we're eliminating things that we know don't work. I'm confident we're close to finding the setting I need and working hard with my guys to find it.”
“It was a difficult race and in the first two races I have to say we were a little bit closer to the front”, commented Team Manager Hervé Poncharal. “It's a shame that Colin wasn't quite comfortable enough with the setting to fight closer with (Loris) Capirossi and (Marco) Melandri at the end. A top six would have been well deserved for his hard effort and maybe fifth was achievable. It was also a tough weekend for James. His lap times in the race were not too bad but it is clear he must improve in qualifying. He is capable of a much stronger performance, but it is difficult when you don't qualify well. The start of the race now is crucial and qualifying is something that he will work on with his team. Everybody at Tech 3 is now looking forward to our home race. We know Le Mans is very good circuit for Yamaha and last year Colin was on the podium behind Jorge (Lorenzo) and Valentino (Rossi). I'd also like to thank Mark Hall from Monster Energy for his support this weekend. The Yamaha Tech 3 team is delighted t o have Monster Energy as our title sponsor, and I'm sure our partnership will bring success in the future.”
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team now takes a deserved break before its home race at the French Grand Prix in Le Mans on May 17, with expectations high after Edwards finished third in 2008.