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Edwards and Crutchlow storm to third row in Estoril

Edwards and Crutchlow storm to third row in Estoril

Colin Edwards produced his best qualifying performance of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship in Estoril for tomorrow's bwin Grande Prémio de Portugal with seventh place on the grid. His Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team mate Cal Crutchlow equalled his best qualifying result of his rookie campaign after setting the eighth quickest time in this afternoon's session.

With small damp patches still littering sections of the 2.599 miles circuit, Edwards and Crutchlow built up their speed to qualify within 0.109s of each other at the end of the MotoGP qualifying session. Edwards ended with a fastest time of 1.38.080 and once again the experienced Texan was the leading non-factory rider in the ultra-competitive MotoGP field. His time was only 0.007s away from the second row, as he experimented with different front-end settings throughout the hour-long session, to find better turning performance with his YZR-M1 machine.

Crutchlow was able to lap consistently inside the top ten throughout qualifying as the forecast rain held off, despite dark clouds hanging menacingly over the track. For the third race in succession, the 2009 World Supersport champion will start in front of nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi.

Colin Edwards, Monster Yamaha Tech 3

“That's my best qualifying result of the season so far, so I'm happy about that when you consider how strong the field is this year. I gave it everything I had out there even though conditions weren't perfect. There were still a couple of damp patches on the track, especially at the last corner, and I couldn't take my normal line. It is the same for everybody but in a couple of places where I had to alter my line, it threw me out of my rhythm a little bit. Despite the track being a bit patchy, I was able to go faster than I managed yesterday. The bike feels good and in those conditions I don't think we could have gone any faster. We made a couple of changes to the front in that session and we need to sit down and look at the data to see if I'll run that set-up in the race. We might need to make another modification for the race because I'd still like the bike to turn into the corner a little better. To be right behind the factory bikes is all I can do and my team is doing a fantastic job to help get as close to the front as I am.”

Cal Crutchlow, Monster Yamaha Tech 3

“I don't think I could have gone any faster, or put in any extra effort than I did. If I can keep coming to circuits that I've never seen and qualifying inside the top ten, I'm going to be really happy. At one point it looked like I might get my first second row, but to be in between Edwards and Rossi on the grid for my first race here, I've got to be really happy. I pretty much lost a session too because I only did a couple of laps in the wet this morning. It wasn't worth taking any big risks and I don't think I've ever been so happy to finish last. It is not easy on this track and I'm finding it quite physical. I'm still having some issues with arm pump in my right arm and to compensate I'm using my left arm a lot, which is stressing the shoulder I had an operation on during the winter. There's no real time to relax and when you're braking from 200mph to 30mph, it is really physically demanding on the arms and shoulders. I'm really looking forward to the race now and hopefully I can reward the team with a good result after all their effort again this weekend. My aim for tomorrow will be to finish in the top ten and get some more experience of the bike under my belt.”

MotoGP, 2011, bwin GRANDE PREMIO DE PORTUGAL, Colin Edwards, Cal Crutchlow, Monster Yamaha Tech 3

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