Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team duo Colin Edwards and James Toseland will do battle in the last British MotoGP race to be staged at Donington Park from sixth and ninth on the grid respectively.
Edwards secured his seventh top six qualifying result of the season with a best lap
of 1.28.865, the American using dry and warm conditions to further evaluate new front fork settings and a revised body position on his Yamaha YZR-M1 machine.
Bidding to score a third MotoGP podium at Donington Park in tomorrow's 30-lap race, Edwards was one of only seven riders to lap within a second of Valentino Rossi's impressive pole position pace.
“I'm happy with the way I rode but getting close to those guys at the front is getting tough. They are running a pretty fast pace but I'm confident if I can get a good start that I'll be able to stay with them for the race. If I can get away with them then they might pull me around for a few laps”, he said. “I'm moving in the right direction with the setting and the changes we've made to the front forks and experimenting with my body position has improved the front feeling. But with no testing now it is difficult to get used to something so different quickly and I just need a bit more time to adapt because I know we can make the feeling much better. I'm still not sure which race tyre I'm going to run. I'd like to have the best of both compounds on one tyre. We need the left side of the softer tyre and the right side of the hard one. But deliberating that might be for nothing because I hear we're probably going to be under water here tomorrow anyway on rain tyres. We got some time in the rain yesterday so I'm happy I've got a set-up for rain or dry conditions. I really want a good result with it being the last British GP at Donington Park. I've had a lot of success here in the past and it would be good to sign off in style.”
Toseland gave his hopes of a scoring a top six finish in front of a passionate home crowd a huge boost this afternoon. Working closely with his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team crew to improve the setting of his YZR-M1 machine, the 28-year-old performed superbly to equal his best qualifying result of the season.
A lap of 1.29.270s was just 1.154s away from pole position and Toseland was just over four-tenths-of-a-second away from a top six spot on the grid after he'd been as high as fifth position on the timesheets.
The British rider is confident of fighting for his best result of the season, though all eyes will be on the skies tomorrow, with a repeat of the rain that disrupted yesterday's practice forecast for the race.
“I'm happy but at the same time a little bit frustrated because we didn't have a really good base setting this morning. That meant we had quite a bit of work to do this afternoon, but thanks to my guys because they did a great job again. I improved quite a bit but if we had started this morning like we ended this afternoon then I'm sure I could have qualified on the second row”, he explained. “The base set-up didn't work so well because we were too hard on the front and rear. I didn't have much feel at all and I was only doing low 1.32s, so to do 1.29s this afternoon I'm really happy. At least I've given myself a good chance of battling for that top six tomorrow and that was always my target. Today was definitely better than last year's qualifying, although it couldn't really have been much worse. The new electronics are working brilliantly round here, particularly out of the slow hairpins at the end of the lap, so I've got say thanks to Yamaha for that again. Obviously I'm desperate t o get a good result tomorrow. I want to make amends for the disappointment of last year and give the British fans something to cheer about. The support out there today was amazing, and they deserve a good result. I can promise them I'll be giving it my absolute maximum.”