Colin Edwards made a flying start to practice for the Australian MotoGP round at the spectacular Phillip Island circuit today, the American powering his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team machine to a fantastic fourth place on the timesheets.
Edwards was immediately on the pace in this morning’s opening practice, the experienced 37-year-old quickly finding a comfortable set-up with his YZR-M1 machine to post a best lap of 1.31.480 that placed him in an outstanding fourth place.
Only Casey Stoner, Jorge Lorenzo and Marco Simoncelli were faster and Edwards started this afternoon’s second session in optimistic mood that he could once again challenge for the top five in gloriously sunny conditions at the 2.764 miles circuit.
But changes to the settings on his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team machine for the second session didn’t deliver the expected improvements in performance and he lapped at a best pace of 1.31.805 to finish in ninth. His impressive pace this morning though secured him the fourth best time on the combined leaderboard and he will work closely with his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew tonight to gain more turning performance from his YZR-M1 machine ahead of tomorrow’s final practice and qualifying sessions.
British team-mate Cal Crutchlow made a solid start to the weekend and he finished 12th on combined times with a best lap of 1.31.969. Crutchlow has previous experience of the breath-taking Phillip Island track from his time in World Supersport and World Superbikes, but today was all about acclimatising to the circuit’s fast and sweeping corners on the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 800cc MotoGP machine.
The 25-year-old set a time of 1.32.583 this morning and he needed only four laps of the second session to better that pace. He eventually lapped well over half-a-second faster and he completed the day just over 0.4s behind Edwards.
Colin Edwards 4th 1.31.480 – 36 laps:
“This morning went brilliantly and I came out of the gate really fast and flying. I felt good on the bike but this afternoon I just couldn’t get close to the pace I had this morning. I had really good grip from the front tyre this morning but when the temperature started to come up a little bit the track started to feel a bit greasy. So for this afternoon we switched to the hard compound front tyre to see what the difference was and there is a really fine line between what does and doesn’t work around this track. We made one little change to the bike but the bike became really hard to ride. The track is pretty bumpy and I was having a lot of vibration and I just didn’t feel anywhere near as comfortable in the second session as I did this morning. We need to go back to what we know worked this morning and make a couple of tweaks to see if we can make that set-up better. The main thing is to get the front working better over the bumps.”
Cal Crutchlow 12th 1.31.969 – 43 laps:
“Today’s result doesn’t look too bad on the timesheets because although I am down in 12th, I am less than half-a-second away from Colin and he is fourth. But it was a very difficult day to be honest because I had a lot of grip issues and the bike was hard to turn as well. And if I run over any rough tarmac or any bumps I nearly crash, so I’ve got to sit down with my guys tonight and come up with a plan to try and make the bike better for tomorrow. We made an improvement to the bike after this morning and that was reflected in the times because I was quite a bit quicker this afternoon, but we’ve still got a long way to go to make feel more comfortable and confident. I think we need to be looking at making some pretty drastic changes to the bike for tomorrow, but I’m confident we’ll find something and I’ll be battling for a place in the top 10 on the grid.”
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