Refreshed after a long winter break and boosted by the impressive performance of Yamaha’s new 2010 YZR-M1 machine, Colin Edwards produced a stunning return to MotoGP action at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia today.
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider ended the first day of 2010 pre-season testing with the third fastest time, a best lap of 2.01.932 only bettered by Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner as the MotoGP paddock reconvened after a three-month winter break.
Edwards completed 48 laps in typically demanding Sepang conditions as air temperatures reached close to 40 degrees and track temperatures hitting a searing 60 degrees. Edwards, who finished fifth in last y ear’s MotoGP world championship, was one of four riders who managed to lap under the existing lap record and he finished just 0.030s behind Stoner.
The Texan was thrilled with the performance of Yamaha’s new 2010 YZR-M1 machine, particularly with bottom end performance on the in-line four-cylinder motor.
Ben Spies kicked off his 2010 challenge with a fastest lap of 2.03.142 helping the reigning World Superbike champion secure 12th spot.
A chronic bout of jetlag after the long trip to Kuala Lumpur stopped Spies from displaying his true potential, with the Texan continuing to adjust to the prototype YZR-M1 machine while also trying to learn the long and technical Sepang circuit.
Colin Edwards Speaks… 3rd 2.01.932 – 48 laps
"After I blew off a few cobwebs this morning I’ve got to say t he bike worked really great and I’ve got to say a big thanks to Yamaha. They have impressed me because we knew it was a big challenge to achieve a high level of performance while also getting more durability out of the engine for the new rules. And they have done that and I’m really happy, so I’m already excited about the new season. The engine seems much better off the bottom. Last year I’d open the throttle and nothing really happened, but this year there’s a response when you push. I never even touched the bike today, I just got on it and rode it and it felt really natural and I could do what I wanted with the bike. It accelerated how I wanted, I could hold a line how I wanted and I was riding round talking to myself inside my helmet saying ‘how much fun is this?’ When the bike does what you ask, it’s pretty easy. It was a great way to start what hopefully is going to be another successful year with Herve Poncharal and the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team."
Ben Spies Speaks… 12th 2.03.142 – 55 laps
"I tried as hard as I could for the first day but I’ve got a little bit of jetlag and I wasn’t at 100 per cent. Despite that though the new bike is really good. I got behind a couple of people and the engine performance was really good and that is a real positive. I’m still working on my mid-corner speed and trusting the Bridgestone tyres and today was still a good day even if I’d like to have been a bit further up the timesheets. My times aren’t far off on a track that these guys know like the back of their hand, so I know there is plenty more to come from me. My guy’s asked me what I need to work on for tomorrow and right now it’s just me. There’s a good half-a-second just in myself. I’ve got a lot to learn and it takes time. I’ve already been getting a lot of help and advice from Colin about the track and that is great for me and for the Monster Yam aha Tech 3 Team that we are working together like that."