Colin Edwards qualified on the second row of the grid in Valencia today to give his hopes of securing a brilliant top five finish in the 2009 MotoGP world championship a huge boost.
At a sunny but windswept Ricardo Tormo circuit, Edwards took full advantage of improvements with the front-end handling of his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 machine to set the fifth quickest time.
Forced to take anti-inflammatory tablets to ease the discomfort of a recurring neck injury, a best lap of 1.33.085 clinched fifth on the grid for the sixth time in the last seven races and saw Edwards finish just 0.163s behind reigning world champion Valentino Rossi.
Trailing Andrea Dovizioso by just four-points going into tomorrow’s final race, Edwards is confident he can overhaul the Italian to clinch fifth in the final points standings.
Finishing behind dominant the quartet of Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo, Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa would be a remarkable achievement for the popular 35-year-old, who is determined to end 2009 on a high to reward the hard work of his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha crew throughout 2009.
James Toseland will start his final MotoGP appearance for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team from 14th place on the grid.
The British rider set his fastest time of 1.34.107 on his 28th and final lap and while disappointed with his grid position, the 28-year-old is optimistic he can bow out in style with a challenge for a top ten finish in tomorrow’s 30-lap race.
Colin Edwards 5th 1.33.085 – 28 laps
“I seem to be pretty much stuck with that fifth place! I know I run number five but it doesn’t mean I have to qualify in that place every race. But as I’ve said before, I’ve got to be pleased to be finishing next best behind those four guys, or should I say aliens. They are riding out of this world and to be right behind them means I’m doing the best job I can and that’s about as good as I can hope for at the moment. On my first couple of softer tyres I ran into a bit of traffic, which was a bit frustrating because I knew I could get a good time. We’d softened the front forks and I felt much more comfortable. We’ve really got the bike turning well this weekend and I think I’ve got a good race pace. Now the bike turns without running wide and that’s helping tyre life too. I’m not sure if I’ve got the pace of the four in front of me on race tyres but I wanted to give myself a shot at fifth in the championship and I’ve done that. Dovizioso is a few places behind me but I just need to focus on doing my own job. I’m sure my neck won’t be a problem tomorrow. I first hurt it when I crashed in Germany last year and every few months I do something to aggravate it. This time I was in the shower reaching for the shampoo and the way I turned my head it just seized up. It won’t stop me from trying to end a brilliant season on a high and giving my guys at Monster Yamaha Tech 3 something to cheer about for all their hard work and effort in 2009.”
James Toseland 14th 1.34.107 – 28 laps
“The conditions were really difficult out there this afternoon. There was a strong wind and it made reading the track conditions really difficult. The lap times were not brilliant this afternoon but that was because there was quite a lot of dust being blown onto the track and it wasn’t easy to find grip. The session certainly didn’t go as planned but I feel I’ve got a good and consistent set-up for the race tomorrow. Starting from 14th on the grid isn’t going to be easy at this track. It is quite tight and twisty and that makes it difficult to overtake. My plan is to make a good start and get into a consistent pace and finish the season on a high note for all my guys at Monster Yamaha Tech 3.”
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