Two out of the three Americans currently competing in MotoGP finished Sunday’s wet race at Silverstone, with one putting aside pain for a podium finish.
This was Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Colin Edwards. Nine days after breaking his collarbone in seven places at Catalunya MotoGP, Edwards braved the still-paining shoulder and took the final podium position behind race-winner Casey Stoner and the Australian’s Repsol Honda teammate Andrea Dovizioso.
It was the 37-year-old Texan’s first podium finish since the 2009 British Grand Prix in Donington Park, which Silverstone replaced as the UK MotoGP venue in 2010. Edwards had started from eighth on the MotoGP grid Sunday, but had passed fellow Texan Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing) on the fifth lap.
Edwards then ran a consistent and patient MotoGP race, and as riders before him crashed, Edwards took third.
Colin Edwards (Monster Tech 3 Yamaha MotoGP) says: "That was an unbelievable race and to finish on the podium feels amazing. I was happy to qualify eighth but never in a million years did I think I’d be on the podium just over a week after breaking my collarbone.
"Conditions were pretty bad and it was a case of working out when and where you could push. I’d have been happy to finish the race and then go home to think about Assen. But I saw a few people succumbing to the conditions and I saw P3 on by board and I couldn’t believe it. At that time though there were still eight or nine laps to go and I couldn’t feel my hands or my feet because it was so wet and cold.
"It was difficult but it was a good way to the end the weekend for the Team after what happened to Cal. Nobody wants to get hurt, but being injured for your home race is really tough to take, so I wish him a quick recovery and hope to see him back in Assen."
The second fastest American in Sunday’s Silverstone MotoGP was Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden, who took fourth behind his fellow countryman Edwards. Hayden came close to crashing a few times due to the slick conditions, but kept it together to take fourth, two places ahead of his Ducati MotoGP teammate Valentino Rossi.
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team GP11 MotoGP) says: "To be honest, I really liked my chances for a podium in the rain today; if you’d have told me before the race that I could have fourth, I’d have said, ‘No thanks, I can do better,’ but I’m not disappointed with my ride. I didn’t get a great start because the clutch was jumpy, and for the first few laps, it was hard to see and to get heat in the tires.
"I had a big moment on the exit of Turn 1 and actually jarred my shoulder pretty good, but I tried to hang in there. I saw Colin in front of me for the podium, and I really pushed. I think that’s the first time I’ve ever had the fastest lap on a Ducati, which is kind of cool even if you don’t get points for it. Full respect to Colin a week after breaking his collarbone, but I still don’t like him beating me for the podium! Thanks to the team. It hasn’t been an easy weekend for us, but we kept trying and got a pretty good chunk of points. We’ll take it and move on."
As for the final American on the 2011 Silverstone MotoGP grid, Ben Spies, the Yamaha rider would crash on the 14th lap, moments before his teammate Jorge Lorenzo hit the pavement. Spies hit the pavement in turn 1, then slammed into the wall.
Spies was transported to the on-track medical center at Silverstone, where he was cleared of serious injury.
Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing MotoGP) says: "I’m so disappointed to finish like this after we worked so hard to be ready for the race. It’s been a challenging weekend for all the guys with the different weather changes but we were ready to race with a really good package.
"The track was really wet, when I hit the brakes going into turn one the front just dropped away and I hit the wall before I knew it. I hit my back pretty badly, my back protector is really busted up, but it did its job. I’m really sore and will probably need a big cushion for a few days but I’m happy it wasn’t worse. We’ll take a few days to relax and recover then come back fighting at Assen."
The American Trio now has a week-long break before heading to Assen (June 24-26) for round 7 of 18 in the 2011 MotoGP Championship.