Colin Edwards put in a strong performance in qualifying at the Italian MotoGP today, and even held a front row position a while. In the end Edwards lost 3rd place and had to settle for 5th position for the race tomorrow.
Ben Spies continued to show progress and took 7th position.
All eyes and gossip will be on the Tech-3 riders over the next few days, as the factory Yamaha team will be looking for a replacement to fill-in for Valentino Rossi while he is recovering from his broken leg that he sustained during the morning practice session – and Colin Edwards could be an ideal choice. It is unclear if the rules would allow Spies to ride in a factory team, technically they state that no rookie can join a factory team, but this isn’t the start of the season and Spies may not be classed as a rookie.
It is also likely that Yamaha will look elswhere for a replacement for Rossi – but the gossip and rumour has started already, even if the search hasn’t.
Colin Edwards 5th 1.49.683 – 25 laps
“I’m back! And it feels so good to be back up near the front where I know I belong. In the early part of the season I knew I hadn’t forgotten how to ride a bike but nothing was really working and it has been a struggle. The first three races have been terrible but reverting back to last year’s set-up that we know works has given me a massive confidence boost and at least I know I’m not slowing down in my old age. It is still hard work but I certainly think it’s easier than the start to the season. I just feel way more comfortable, particularly with the front-end of the bike and at one stage I thought a place on the front row to wasn’t going to be out of the question. I could push like I wanted to and I feel confident for the race tomorrow. I’m ready for a fight and a good battle because all this year it feels like I’ve just been riding around and not being very fast. I feel sorry for Valentino and Yamaha and I wish him a speedy recovery because the championship is not the same without him.”
Ben Spies 7th 1.49.861 – 25 laps
“Coming to a track that is as different as Mugello, I’m quite happy with today having been so close to the second row. I’m a little upset because I did make a few mistakes on the fast lap and left a couple of tenths out there, which would have got me on the second row. But to be in the top eight with the limited track time I’ve had, I’m really happy and after Jerez and Le Mans it was good to bounce back and get back to normal. Now we’ll look at some data and try to figure out where to go faster. There are a couple places where I think I’m doing the wrong thing but overall it was good session. I definitely didn’t get the most out of the softer tyres but I stepped up a bit in qualifying and it wasn’t like I did that lap time on a perfect lap. But that happens and I’ll try and get a good start and stay in there on the first few laps and let the race come in and put my head down. It’s a shame for the championship and for Yamaha that Valentino is injured but I’m sure we’ll see him back soon and just as hard to beat.”
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