The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team scored a double top ten finish in today’s Czech Republic MotoGP race in front of nearly 140,000 sun drenched fans at the Brno circuit.
Starting from the second row of the grid, Edwards posed a persistent threat for the top six throughout a gruelling 22-lap race that saw temperatures that nudged 30 degrees. Chasing a group in front battling for fourth that included Toni Elias, Andrea Dovizioso and Loris Capirossi, Edwards lapped nearly a second faster on lap seven to get to within 0.7s of the intense battle.
Unable to remain in close contact with the battle ahead, Edwards was left to fend off the determined challenge of fellow American Nicky Hayden. Still less than 100 per cent fit after an illness earlier in the weekend, the 35-year-old produced a superb performance, holding Hayden at bay until lap 18. He tried to mount a late counter attack on Hayden to secure his fifth top six finish of the season, but he had to settle for seventh, losing out to Hayden by just 0.1s.
British rider James Toseland produced a typically determined ride, the 28-year-old making up two places on the first lap as he set about mounting a top ten challenge from 14th on the grid. Growing in confidence after some early front-end issues, Toseland settled into a consistent pace and he eventually finished in a respectable ninth place, just over 1.5s away from Alex de Angelis in eighth.
Colin Edwards Speaks.. (7th – 112 points)
"That was a pretty tough race. Right from the start of the weekend I said I thought my engine felt a bit flat and today I couldn’t do anything. I was getting passed easily and I couldn’t stay in the slipstream at all. I could do the lap time but I couldn’t race them. I couldn’t get within ten bike lengths at the end of the straight but then I’d nearly be running into the back of them at the exit of the corner because I was trying to make up all the time on the brakes and on corner speed. I lost the group with Toni, Andrea and Loris for a bit early on but I only came back at them for a while because I was pushing the front so hard. I got the right side of the front tyre way too hot and after that I kept losing the front. I was nearly running into them in the middle of the corner but I couldn’t get close enough to pass them on the brakes going in. At the end I was locked in a battle with Nicky but I think I could have been behind him all day and not be able to pass him. I got another load of points and I was close to the top six, but I’ve been beating those guys in front of me consistently all year and that’s a pity because maybe I could have got another podium today. I’m back home again for Indianapolis next time out and I’ll be looking for a much better weekend."
James Toseland Speaks… (9th – 62 points)
"It has been a tough weekend and I’ll be the first to admit that I was a bit fortunate to get into the top ten. I rode as hard as I could every lap and never gave up but at the moment I’m struggling with a problem with the front for the first half of the race. I get a hopping sensation on the front and it really hurts my corner speed. We’ve been struggling with it for a while now but after half distance, how the feeling comes better is unbelievable. It’s almost like somebody is tweaking my bike while I’m riding because it improves so much. On lap 20 I did a 58.4, which is only one tenth off my qualifying time, so it shows how good the bike eventually feels. But I lose so much in the first half of the race that it really costs me. My pace in the second half of the race should be getting me in the top six. If we can solve this front-end issue then I know I can be running much higher up the field, which is where the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team deserves to be."
Herve Poncharal Speaks… (Team Manager)
"You can’t be disappointed when both Colin and James finish inside the top ten having given their maximum again in what was a demanding race. But it was a little bit disappointing, particularly for Colin who was doing very well all weekend. I don’t think he was 100 per cent still after his illness but it was another strong result for him. James again was much better in the race than he was in practice and I’m pleased that he put in a lot of effort in the second half of the race. If he can solve some of the problems he’s experiencing I’m convinced we will see him achieving much better results. Now we move to Indianapolis which is an important race for Colin, for Yamaha and for our sponsor Monster, so hopefully we can be fighting back closer to the top five. I’d like to congratulate Valentino because he again proved he is the master. Yamaha was unbelievably strong again today and it was just a shame Jorge crashed because everybody was looking forward to a strong fight for the world championship to the end."