“I'm pretty happy”
A strong finish from Colin Edwards in another fiercely contested MotoGP qualifying session helped the American claim a place on the third row of the grid for his home race at Laguna Seca.
Edwards, who has yet to qualify lower than the third row
in an impressive start to 2009, will start tomorrow's 32-lap race from seventh position after he clocked a best time of 1.22.490.
Despite encountering front-end issues on his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1, the 35-year-old was just over half-a-second away from thrilling a large Independence Day crowd in California with a front row start.
Edwards, who lost most of the fingernail off the third finger on his right hand in a heavy crash at Turn 10 in overcast and cooler conditions this morning, is confident he become only the 14th rider in history to score points in 100 Grand Prix races tomorrow to maintain his challenge for fourth place in the world championship.
“The bike felt better than yesterday but I'm still not completely happy and I've still got a few issues to iron out before the race. I made a mistake this morning and did a bit of damage to a finger on my right hand, but nothing that is giving me too many problems. It wasn't fun though high-siding at Turn 10 because that's not a slow corner. I was on my head and then my back, so just to take a fingernail off I feel pretty lucky”, he said. “But the big issue is the feeling from the front-end. I've got too much movement and as soon as I go into the corner it doesn't feel stable at all. To be seventh I'm pretty happy because I didn't feel like I could push as hard as I want or need to. But if I can eliminate a couple of problems in the warm-up I'm confident of a good race. I know it is going to be tough to get a podium tomorrow but I'll be giving it my all for the American fans and for Monster. There are a lot of people here to support me on a big weekend for America and I'm determined to give them a good result.
A crash at the final corner just 15 minutes into the session dented James Toseland's hopes of securing a third consecutive top ten grid position.
The British rider lost the front-end at the left-hander, and riding his spare YZR-M1 machine for the rest of the session, he was unable to find a comfortable front-end setting as he finished in 15th position with a best time of 1.23.390.
“It was a tough session and pretty obvious that we've got a lot of work to do. After such a good race in Assen when we made massive progress with the set-up of the bike, I just can't get the same confident feeling I had last weekend”, he said. “I wasn't pushing too hard at the last corner when the front tucked and I was down. I was running a different setting on the front and I never really felt comfortable with it. The crash forced me to switch to the spare bike and we tried a new setting on the front and it just didn't really work. I'm nowhere near where I expected to be and that is disappointing. But as always I'll be working as hard as ever with my guys at Monster Yamaha Tech 3 to find some improvements for the race.”