Colin Edwards will start the opening MotoGP race of 2009 in Qatar from sixth position, with Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team-mate James Toseland 13th as both riders suffered handling problems ahead of Sunday's main event.
Edwards figured prominently during the 45-minute session, peaking in second position with 12 minutes remaining, before being bumped down the order in the closing stages.
“I'm reasonably happy with the second row but I thought I had a shot at being in the top three. But even though I'm a veteran I'm still learning,” said Edwards. “I came here with a bike set-up different than what I've been running in the winter to cure some movement issues with the front when I push harder.
“The new setting is better but I've still got some of those issues and it is a little confusing. Valentino [Rossi] is going fast and he doesn't have any issues, and Jorge [Lorenzo] is the same. So I've got to figure something out. I've got to figure out whether I need to go softer or harder with the front forks. I just wish I were an engineer because right now I'm not sure which direction I need to take.
“I'm looking forward to the race now and I feel ready. The guys in front of me are within touching distance though Casey [Stoner] is on another planet. Hats off to him, but I'm ready for the battle,” warned Edwards.
Toseland had a more frustrating evening, the 28-year-old opted to use two soft rear tyres but it was a small problem with a hard compound front tyre that prevented him from ending the session with a top ten.
“I started on a used front tyre that had done 13 laps and I was straight into the low 58s and I thought great. I put a new hard front tyre in with my first soft rear tyre and the front never seemed to get to temperature. And when I put in my second soft rear the front wasn't so stable mid-corner. Now you can't just throw another tyre in with the new rules, so I'm really frustrated because the rear tyre was working pretty good,” he explained.
“To do a 1min 57 with the problems I had I'm actually pleased with that because I picked the bike up on my knee twice and I still did a reasonable lap time. I'm a bit disappointed because the bike was feeling good and I'm sure I could have got around the top six, but there was nothing I could do with the small issue with the front. I've got to take it on the chin and build on the progress I've made prior to the end of that session. I'm going to need a good start and get my head down but I'm riding well and looking forward to it,” he concluded.