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Edwards and Crutchlow pleased with progress

Edwards and Crutchlow pleased with progress

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders Colin Edwards and Cal Crutchlow were both delighted with major improvements made during the third and final MotoGP practice session at the Losail International Circuit tonight.

In blustery and unpredictable conditions that continued to hit the 5.38km Doha venue, Edwards and Crutchlow made huge progress with their race set-up, both improving their pace and consistency with the hard compound Bridgestone rear tyre.

A series of modifications to the rear suspension of his YZR-M1 machine saw Edwards finish in sixth position on the combined timesheets, his best of 1.56.259 set in the first session of the evening. The changes improved rear grip with the hard tyre and he finished less than 0.5s away from the top three.

Crutchlow was thrilled with his performance. The British rider claimed eighth place on the timesheets in the opening session of the evening. He finished with a best time of 1.56.437, having knocked off almost a second off his best lap from yesterday. He ended the final session less than 0.2s away from the top six and his time put him 12th overall on combined times as he produced another heroic display. The left little finger injury he suffered earlier this week in a testing crash is still causing him considerable pain and discomfort. He has also been struggling with strength in his left shoulder, where he is recovering from major winter surgery to repair tendon and ligament damage.

Tonight's performance has boosted Crutchlow's confidence that he can fight for a top ten grid position, when he takes part in his first MotoGP qualifying session tomorrow night.

Colin Edwards, Monster Yamaha Tech 3
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“Tonight ended up working out really well because the first session wasn't that easy. I had quite a bit of trouble getting the hard tyre to work in the first session and that's what we need to race with. The soft tyre just won't go the race distance, so we had to figure out a solution to make the bike work on the hard tyre. Earlier on I had too much wheelspin and couldn't finish the corner, but we made some changes to the rear suspension and it was a million times better. Immediately I went out and did a 56.3, which was half-a-second quicker than I've been on the hard tyre all week. I then did a 56.3 after about eight laps, so we have got it working now. I knew we had to find half-a-second and we did, so hats off to the team. I'm now a lot more confident for the rest of the weekend and feel we've got a really competitive package.”

Cal Crutchlow, Monster Yamaha Tech 3

“To be as close as I was to the top six, I can't really ask for too much more. I wasn't following anybody either, I was doing the times on my own. That gives me a lot of confidence. I'm much happier on the harder tyre now. I was consistently in the 56s and that's a big step forward from last night. I don't really think the final position does us justice. Considering how sore my finger is and that my shoulder is starting to hurt a bit, I can't complain. I actually think I could have gone quicker but when I put in a soft rear tyre at the end, the front tyre had got a few laps on it and it was moving around when I was pushing. I feel a lot more comfortable on the bike and we've got a few ideas for tomorrow night, so I can improve a bit more.”

Tags:
MotoGP, 2011, COMMERCIALBANK GRAND PRIX OF QATAR

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