Monsoon conditions that battered the Estoril track forced this afternoon’s MotoGP qualifying session to be abandoned, leaving Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders Ben Spies and Colin Edwards fifth and ninth on the grid for the Grand Prix of Portugal.
After a rain-hit morning practice session, conditions started to deteriorate shortly after midday as strong winds and heavy rain lashed the circuit located close to the Atlantic coast. The MotoGP session was delayed by 35 minutes and Race Direction declared track conditions unfit for any action to take place at 2.30pm.
Yesterday morning’s first MotoGP practice was also a victim of atrocious conditions but today’s qualifying session was the first to be abandoned since a storm hit the Twin Ring Motegi in Japan last season.
As a result of today’s severe disruption, grid positions for tomorrow’s races were decided on combined practice times, leaving Spies on the second row in fifth after he clocked a best lap of 1.49.721 in yesterday afternoon’s practice.
The Texan was frustrated that conditions worsened this afternoon having been confident planned radical changes to the wet set-up of his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 machine would improve his pace.
Edwards will start from ninth, his best time of 1.50.313 from this morning’s third practice session counting. Fifth fastest in wet but rideable conditions this morning, Edwards is confident of a strong penultimate race to the 2010 season.
Ben Spies 5th 1.49.721
“There was no way we could have ridden this afternoon. There is nothing we could have done about it but it is frustrating for me having missed the first session too because of the weather when I need to be doing laps to get more accustomed to the track. It’s a shame too this afternoon because we were looking to make big strides with the bike. I don’t have a lot of time on this bike in the rain so we’ve basically been running a softer version of my dry setting. But I’ve been told there’s quite a radical change that Yamaha think would really help me and I didn’t get chance to try it. That’s a bit unfortunate because I was told the bike would feel better and I was already pretty confident in the rain. That said I’ve still a good starting position in fifth, so learning the track quickly yesterday helped me out a lot. We can’t do anything about the weather so we’ll wake up tomorrow, see what the skies have for us and go for it wet or dry. I don’t feel like we’ll be miles off even if it is dry and I’ve never ridden in full dry conditions at this track.”
Colin Edwards 9th 1.50.313
“It is a little bit annoying to be on the third row of the grid because I was looking good yesterday before the crash and this morning I was fifth quickest. I missed out yesterday when the track conditions were better than at any other stage this weekend because of the crash and I’m sure I could have been much higher up the grid. But there was no way we could have gone out in those conditions. It was impossible so I’m not going to get too upset about it and just look forward to the race. I feel if it is wet tomorrow that I’m going to be really strong because the rain setting is working really good. If it is dry I’m confident and I’m sure I will be able to come through the field and get a good result. I guess the worst case scenario is if it is a wet warm-up and then a dry race but I feel ready rain or shine.”
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