Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Colin Edwards rode to a hard fought ninth position in scorching hot temperatures during the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM at the Mugello track in Italy this afternoon.
Starting from his best grid position of the season in sixth place, the Texan quickly established himself in a group locked in an exciting fight for sixth position that included home crowd favourite Valentino Ross and compatriot Nicky Hayden.
Despite pushing hard to remain in the five-rider battle, Edwards was unable to maintain his fast early pace, the 37-year-old not getting the grip levels he expected from his soft compound Bridgestone rear tyre choice as track temperatures hit well over 50 degrees.
Today’s 21-lap race ended in premature and disappointing fashion for Cal Crutchlow. The British rider was involved in the captivating tussle that involved Edwards when he experienced a loss of feeling and confidence with the front-end of his YZR-M1 machine in the early stages.
Not wanting to risk a crash that might further damage the left shoulder he broke during qualifying for his home race at Silverstone last month, Crutchlow opted to retire after completing six laps and is now concentrating on making a return to the top 10 when the 2011 MotoGP World Championship resumes at Germany’s Sachsenring on July 17.
Colin Edwards 9th – 53 points:
“That was a pretty tough race. Basically we made the wrong rear tyre choice but it was so hard to decide which one was going to the better option. I’d been fast on both options but I felt like there was an advantage with the softer compound. It seemed easier to do the lap times that I needed to do to get away with the guys at the start. But I changed my mind a few times because we’d not had the afternoon sessions on Friday or Saturday because of the rain, so we didn’t know how the tyre would react in the really hot conditions. With the track temperature much higher I just never had the grip I expected at the beginning. It never changed from the first lap to the last. There was no drop in performance, but it never really had the grip I wanted at the beginning. At the end of the day we made a bad call and sometimes it doesn’t work out. To come out of a difficult race with a top ten is still a half decent result, so we move on now and hope for a better race in Germany.”
Cal Crutchlow DNF – 32 points:
“Right from the first lap I didn’t have any confidence or feeling with the front-end and I kept running wide. I just didn’t want to crash with the Silverstone shoulder injury at the back of my mind, so I felt the safest option was to pull into the pits. I was in that battle fighting for sixth place and the last thing I want to do is not fight, but I felt like I’d reached my limit. I am sorry for the Team because we have all worked incredibly hard and now I am determined to put this race behind me and focus on having a strong weekend at the next race in Germany, which I’m looking forward to.”
Herve Poncharal – Team Manager:
“This was a difficult race for everybody on the grid. The weather was changing all weekend and I think we never had that temperature on track on Friday and Saturday that we saw today, so tyre choice was a bit of a gamble. Our riders took the soft rear and hard front and the start was not so bad and I think they were having a good race until Cal came into the pits. This is the second time in successive races that he has stopped and in Assen we could clearly see there was a problem. But his tyre choice was the same as Colin, so I would have expected him to stay out considering where he was in the race. And he needs experience of the bike and this track, so we’ll put today behind us and hope to see him showing his true potential in Germany. Colin did not have the ideal set up because of the changing conditions and he still finished ninth and got some points and that is important, so he did a fantastic job in difficult circumstances. I also want to say big congratulations to Yamaha and Jorge. Not a lot of people can recover that gap to Casey and the second week in a row we have seen how strong the Yamaha YZR-M1 package is. I hope we will be closer to them for the next race.”
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