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Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Colin Edwards battled against the elements at Phillip Island to storm to a strong fifth position in the Iveco Australian Grand Prix which was dominated by unpredictable weather.
Edwards finished the first lap in eighth place as he tried to judge the unpredictable gusts of wind to maintain a fast and consistent pace as the race unfolded. He was seventh when late drama occurred as a heavy rain shower soaked the track in a small section from Lukey Heights to the fast approach to the final corner with three laps remaining. The 37 year old opted to stay out on slicks rather than switch to his YZR-M1 set-up for the rain with only a small part of the track affected by the cloudburst. His decision paid off and he claimed his third top six finish of the season.
Team-mate Cal Crutchlow was also on course for a solid top ten finish when he suffered an unfortunate crash in the final stages when a quick rain shower fell while he was locked in an exciting battle with Hiroshi Aoyama for eighth position. The 27-lap race started in sunny but cool conditions but it was a fierce wind that made tackling the high-speed and technical 4.4km Phillip Island a tough challenge. The British rider had fought brilliantly to keep Karel Abraham and Randy de Puniet at bay when he hit a wet patch of tarmac at Lukey Heights on lap 24. Aoyama crashed in identical circumstances right in front of Crutchlow and the 25-year-old was unable to rejoin the race and collect a deserved top 10 finish.
Colin Edwards, Monster Yamaha Tech 3
“That was all about surviving because the conditions might have looked great on TV with the sun shining but the wind was horrendous. We know the wind plays a big part here normally but today it seemed particularly bad and it was impossible to judge when a gust was going to hit you from one lap to the next. I got into a pretty good rhythm and I was happy to be running a consistent pace in eighth when all the late chaos happened. It is never a good feeling when you see rain spots on the visor with slick tyres on but there was only rain in a small part of the track. I knew it was a flag-to-flag situation but I never thought about pulling in for the rain bike. I was just riding as hard as I could but as safe as I could in the last couple of laps and fifth is a great result. I just want to say congratulations to Casey because he has been awesome all year and he's a worthy World Champion. As a fellow rider you have to admire what he's done.”
Cal Crutchlow, Monster Yamaha Tech 3
“I'm pretty disappointed because it has been a very difficult weekend, so to get a top 10 would have been a very positive way to sign off. I had been having a really good battle with Abraham, Aoyama and de Puniet and I was confident I was going to finish at least eighth but I came into Lukey Heights and couldn't even see any rain and the next thing I was down. The weird thing is Aoyama went down right in front of me on the same wet patch, so it was like synchronised crashing. I had no idea why I had crashed and someone in the crowd told me it had rained really quickly and then stopped. It is a pity because that cost me a decent result but I'll be looking to get back in the fight for the top 10 in Sepang next week. I tested twice at that track in the winter and while it was tough, I've gained so much experience since then that there's no reason why I can't have a strong weekend.”
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