Sunday, July 17, 2011

Edwards battles to super seventh in Sachsenring

Colin Edwards Sachsenring 2011

Despite not being in peak physical condition after being struck down by a severe sore throat overnight, the American finished only 0.211s away from a second row start at a sun-drenched Sachsenring.

After yesterday's practice sessions were run in cool and windy conditions, today's weather was ideal with air temperatures hitting a pleasant 25 degrees this afternoon, allowing Edwards to focus on making major improvements to the set-up of his YZR-M1 machine.

Edwards, who was uninjured in a small front-end crash at the first corner in this morning's final free practice session, made significant progress with increasing front-end confidence around the tight and twisty Sachsenring circuit. And his hard work was rewarded with a brilliant final lap of 1.22.368 to finish top non-factory rider in a closely contested session that saw the top 12 riders divided by less than one second.

British team-mate Cal Crutchlow looked like joining Edwards inside the top 10. He improved his front-end feeling to break into the 1.22 bracket for the first time this weekend with just under 20 minutes remaining.The 25-year-old had climbed into seventh place with a lap of 1.22.676, but as he pushed hard in the closing stages to secure yet another top 10 qualifying result, he crashed heavily at the fast Turn 8 left-hander. Crutchlow was able to walkaway unhurt from the high-speed accident but he fell to 12th on the timesheets, finishing just over 0.2s away from eighth placed Nicky Hayden.

Colin Edwards:
“Honestly, I have no idea where I pulled that last lap from. I didn't feel like I had a low 1.22 lap in me at all today, but I just tried to push as hard as I could and stay as smooth as I could on that final lap, so to get seventh is a great result for me and my guys at Monster Yamaha Tech 3. Today hasn't been easy because I woke up this morning with a really bad sore throat. It feels like I'm chewing gravel but I've lost my voice and can hardly talk, so communication with the crew wasn't that easy. But we've got such a great understanding that even though they could barely hear what I was saying, my team gave me a good bike for the end of the session. I've never got on with this track and today we've made so many changes to the bike that we're a million miles away from our normal setting. I'd say we haven't done big changes like this to the bike in about a year. I haven't been able to get the bike turned but we kept plugging away and found something this afternoon that was better. This track is so tight and twisty you need a good turning bike, so I'm confident we can have a strong race.”

Cal Crutchlow:
"I am not too happy with today because we had a big crash at the end of the session. I thought we made a good improvement in the qualifying session and we made it into the 22s with an old race tyre and I was happy. I came in to put a new soft tyre on and with the extra grip we just pushed the front too much. We don't really know why at the moment, but we will have a look at the data to see if we can make some improvement for the race. It is the same issue that I have been complaining about at the last two or three races, so we have to start considering making some drastic changes. We will keep working and the aim will be to get in the top 10 for tomorrow and I am determined to bring the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team a good result."

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team press release

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