In Laguna Seca
Colin Edwards' determined ride in his home race at Laguna Seca today achieved a personal milestone for the popular Texan, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider scoring his 100th point-scoring Grand Prix finish.
Edwards started and finished the 32-lap
in seventh to become only the 14th rider in the 61-year history of world championship racing to score points in 100 races.
Slipping to ninth on the opening lap, Edwards fought his way back into seventh on lap seven and began a pursuit of a battle for fifth place involving Spaniard Toni Elias and compatriot Nicky Hayden.
Edwards, who has only failed to score points in 10 of his premier class appearances, closed to within two seconds of Elias on lap 12. But his hopes of a fourth top six finish in 2009 were ended when he ran into front-end issues during the second half of the race, staged in front of a home crowd of 46,679 fans.
“It's great to score my 100th points finish in front of my home fans and doing it for Monster, Yamaha and Tech 3 who have given me great support. But I expect more than finishing seventh”, he said. “I'm pretty tired now and it was a really physical race because I couldn't get the bike to turn. Each time I threw it on its side it just went straight out to the kerb. I was using a lot of effort to get the bike to turn and it felt like the front forks were sitting between my legs. When I braked the front didn't feel like it was coming back up. It felt like the front was buried in the ground and just pushed me out to the edge of the track. I ride over the front a lot but today it felt like I was crawling all over it, almost like I was sitting on top of the tank. It wasn't super special and we've got to go back to the drawing board I think for Germany. My pace was consistent and I was doing between 22.9 or 23.1 the whole race, but that just wasn't fast enough."
It was a disappointing day for British rider James Toseland. Having been adjudged to have jumped the start from 15th on the grid, Toseland failed to stop for a ride through penalty within the allotted time and was subsequently black flagged and excluded from the results on lap 11.
“There's not much I can say really other than it was a tough weekend”, he said. “I feel like the jump start was pretty harsh. I knew it was close but I didn't think I'd jumped the start and that early in a 32-lap race I'm not looking at my pitboard.
I was just concentrating on catching the guy in front and the first thing I realised that I'd been penalised was when I saw the black flag and my number. Obviously if I'd known I'd jumped the start then I would have come in but I've watched the TV replay and you can't see anything. I didn't gain any places either so in my opinion it's pretty harsh. It's a setback but I've just got to get on with it and bounce back in Germany.”
“It was a tough weekend but Colin still had a good race. He had a good pace and while it wasn't fast enough to be on the podium he got some good points and now he's fifth in the championship and still the top independent team rider”, commented Team Manager Hervé Poncharal. “It was also his 100th point-scoring finish in MotoGP and I'm pleased that he has achieved that with the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha Team. Colin has done a fantastic job for our team and it shows what a consistent performer he has been for Yamaha. For James it was a big disappointment because although it was a difficult weekend I think a top ten finish could have been possible. It was a marginal jump start but that's the rule, it is the same for everybody. Unfortunately he didn't see the signal to ride through the pits, so he learned a lesson today.”
Edwards is now fifth in the individual standings and his latest result ensured the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team remains firmly in contention for fourth place in the Team World Championship, the French-based team trailing Suzuki's factory squad by just two-points after eight races.