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Edwards and Crutchlow denied top five in Assen

Edwards and Crutchlow denied top five in Assen

Colin Edwards and Cal Crutchlow both saw deserved top five finishes in the Iveco TT Assen elude them at the legendary circuit.

After rain had played a major part in the earlier 125cc and Moto2 races, the 26-lap race started on a dry but cold track, with threatening grey clouds still looming overhead as the action commenced.

With air temperatures only just reaching a cold 13 degrees and the earlier rain affecting grip levels, Edwards and Crutchlow both fitted the soft compound Bridgestone front tyre to their Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team machines. Crutchlow made the best start of his MotoGP career and ended the first lap in fourth place, the British rider showing phenomenal early speed to chase Casey Stoner and Andrea Dovizioso.

Ignoring the pain of the recovering left collarbone he broke at Silverstone just 15 days ago, the adrenaline fuelled 25-year-old superbly kept nine-times World Champion Valentino Rossi at bay until he started to encounter a front tyre grip issue after five laps.

Determined to overcome the issue to claim his first top six MotoGP finish, he fought brilliantly to remain in the top six until lap 11 when the problem worsened. The 2009 World Supersport champion opted to pit for a new front tyre on lap 13 and he demonstrated his true potential again in the second half of the race to set a fast and consistent pace on his way to 14th.

American Edwards also encountered a front tyre grip issue as the race avoided any repeat of the earlier rain. Once he'd settled into a fast pace, Edwards was comfortably cutting the gap to Crutchlow and Rossi when his front tyre started to lose traction.

He held fifth until lap 17 when he was unable to hold off compatriot Nicky Hayden. Edwards also then encountered a rare arm pump issue caused as he tried to compensate for the muscle damage to his left ribcage suffered in a recent crash at the Catalunya. Despite his best efforts the 37-year-old was unable to maintain his pace and he dropped down the order to finish in seventh position.

Colin Edwards:
“That wasn't an easy race at all and to be honest I'm happy I made it to the finish. I was feeling really good and catching Valentino and Cal when I went through the second corner and lost the front. I thought it was just because I was pushing but the next corner the same thing happened and from that moment it was really difficult . Each time I was in a right-hander I couldn't turn but that wasn't my only issue today. After about ten laps I got really bad arm pump. I've got no upper body strength with the rib injury from Catalunya, so to compensate I was doing everything with my arms and at one stage, the combination of the two issues meant I thought I was going to have to pull in. It was a case of gritting my teeth and getting some points but we'll analyse what happened because Ben (Spies) won the race on the soft front tyre. Our bike isn't set-up completely different, so we'll have to talk to Bridgestone, but hats off to Ben because he's done an awesome job all weekend and rode a great race."

Cal Crutchlow:
“Looking at the positives I got a fantastic start and for the first few laps I was running close to the front in a MotoGP race for the first time. I felt confident I could keep V alentino behind me but then after about five or six laps I started struggling with the front tyre on the right side. I had no choice but to come in and change it because if I had carried on pushing it was going to be easy to crash and that's the last thing I need to be doing at the moment. Having only had surgery on my left collarbone just over a week ago I just couldn't afford to have another crash. Without that I've no doubt I'd have finished fourth but I've proved again I've got the speed and shown that I can race with the best in this class. It wasn't the final result we wanted but I can't change it and I still learned a lot, so now I'm concentrating on Mugello and getting a good result there.”

MotoGP, 2011, IVECO TT ASSEN, Cal Crutchlow, Colin Edwards, Monster Yamaha Tech 3

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