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Edwards and Spies aim for top six at Mugello

Edwards and Spies aim for top six at Mugello

The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team is confident Colin Edwards and Ben Spies can mount a strong challenge for the top six in tomorrow's Gran Premio d’Italia TIM race at the spectacular Mugello circuit.

The French team's optimism ahead of the 23-lap encounter soared after an impressive qualifying performance from the Texan duo in warm and sunny conditions this afternoon. Evaluating a new LeoVince exhaust silencer, Edwards continued his brilliant revival by clocking the fifth best time as he continued to flourish on a more comfortable 2009 setting on his YZR-M1 machine.

A first front row start of the 2010 campaign looked a distinct possibility with Edwards holding third place as the session reached a typically exciting climax. In the frantic final few minutes Edwards dropped down to fifth but his best time of 1’49.683 enabled him to easily notch his best qualifying result of the season. He was less than 0.3s away from Casey Stoner in third and the experienced American is confident he will be able to follow up today's eye-catching display with his best race result of 2010 having shown strong form on Bridgestone's race tyres.

Spies was equally impressive as he continued to successfully acclimatise himself with the technically challenging Mugello circuit. Despite his inexperience the 25 year-old was able to save his best form for his last lap, a time of 1’49.861 securing him his best qualifying position of the season in seventh.

Spies was just 0.124s away from a second row start but painstaking work on the race set-up of his YZR-M1 machine has boosted Spies' confidence of recording his second top six finish for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team tomorrow.

Colin Edwards, 5th

“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

"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."

Press release courtesy of Monster Yamaha Tech 3

MotoGP, 2010, GRAN PREMIO D'ITALIA TIM, Colin Edwards, Ben Spies, Monster Yamaha Tech 3

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