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Edwards confident of top 10 at Phillip Island

Edwards confident of top 10 at Phillip Island

Colin Edwards is confident he can put his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team machine in contention for a top 10 result in tomorrow's Australian MotoGP race after a promising ride to ninth position in this afternoon's qualifying session.

In cool and windy conditions that made riding the super-fast 4.4km Phillip Island circuit a difficult challenge, Edwards mastered the unpredictable conditions superbly to clock a best time of 1.31.237 that put him on the third row of the grid. The 37-year-old finished less than 0.7s away from the front row and once again the American was comfortably the fastest of the non-factory riders as he concentrated on finding the best possible set-up with Bridgestone's s oft compound front and rear tyre options. Edwards finished seventh in last year's Phillip Island race and he is confident he can fight to better that result in tomorrow's 27-lap race, which is round 16 of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship.

But changes to the settings on his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team machine for the second session didn't deliver the expected improvements 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 ahead of tomorrow's final practice and qualifying sessions.

British rider Cal Crutchlow had a disappointing qualifying session and the 25-year-old was unable to find a comfortable set-up, despite the hard work of his crew to improve his feeling with the YZR-M1 machine. The bumpy sections of the spectacular Phillip Island circuit and a lack of front and rear grip have prevented Crutchlow from showing his true potential and he will start the race from 14th on the grid. He set a best time of 1.32.023 in his 28-lap run to finish just 0.043s behind nine-times world champion Valentino Rossi, and Crutchlow is optimistic that further set-up modifications overnight will strengthen his quest to claim a top 10 finish.

Colin Edwards:
“I'm pretty happy to be have finished on the third row because conditions were pretty tough out there. The track is really bumpy but the issue today was the wind. It was really blowing hard in some places and it is just so unpredictable. One lap you get a big gust hit you from the right, so you prepare for that next time round and you get slammed on the other side. If you could put the bike where you want every lap you could easily go half-a-second faster, but the wind just doesn't allow you to do that. The bike is working good and the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team is working fantastic as always for me, so I'm ready for a good race tomorrow. We've got to run the soft front and rear tyres for the race and my bike works pretty good with those options. I tried the hard tyres ye sterday and couldn't get them to work at all. I'll have to take care at the start of the race to make sure we don't abuse the tyre too much at the beginning but I'm looking forward to having some fun and getting a good result."

Cal Crutchlow:
“There is not much to say other than I am very disappointed because I expected to be competing for a place inside the top 10 here and it has been a struggle to find a good set-up with the bike. We spent a long time analysing the data last night because yesterday I didn't have good front or rear grip and turning was also an issue. We made a lot of changes to the bike today and to be honest we didn't find any improvement and I've got the same issues. The track is really bumpy and I can't get the bike to absorb them smoothly and we just don't have the grip we need to go faster. We've tried a lot of things to make it better but for some reason nothing seems to be working. I went just as fast with a set of tyres that had 30 laps on them as I did with two brand new tyres, so we need to sit down again tonight and work through the data and see if there is something we can improve for the race.”

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team press release

MotoGP, 2011, IVECO AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX, Cal Crutchlow, Colin Edwards, Monster Yamaha Tech 3

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