Valentino Rossi may have put a brave face on his sixth position in the rain-interrupted Friday free practice session at Le Mans, but Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Colin Edwards admitted to being 'confused' at how badly the M1 had worked at what has traditionally been one of Yamaha's strongest tracks.
After the 30 minutes of dry track time, Rossi was the leading Yamaha rider, albeit 0.6sec from Repsol Honda's Andrea Dovizioso. Factory team-mate Jorge Lorenzo was a further 0.273sec behind in seventh, with Edwards over one-second from the top in ninth, at a track where the M1 trio finished first, second and third one year ago.
“It was a really weird day to be honest and I'm a bit confused,” said the Texan, who also finished on the podium at Le Mans in 2005 and claimed pole position at the track in 2007. “My record proves that I like this track and we know the Yamaha is a really strong package in Le Mans, but right from the start nothing really seemed to work.
“It's obvious we've got a couple of small issues to solve for tomorrow because Valentino and Jorge are not up near the top either. So out of the box nothing really seems to be working and that is very strange.
“From my side I just don't feel comfortable. Braking and corner entry I'm not that confident and I was running wide quite a lot. It felt like we had a lot of weight on the rear but I need to get my thinking head on tonight, sit down with my guys and figure something out.
“We'll check over some data with Yamaha too because right now I'm a little bit confused. But we've definitely got to do something to make it more comfortable.
“I know this is a massively important weekend for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team. It's an awesome achievement for them to be involved in the world championship for 20 years. I'll be trying my best to give them something to celebrate on Sunday,” he added.
Team-mate James Toseland was last of the Yamaha riders in twelfth.
“I think I'm going to stop saying I need more time on the track, because when I do something makes sure it doesn't happen,” he joked. “From the off we're not too far away but we need time to try things on the bike. I'm sure the guys behind me are saying the same thing, but we still need to find a comfortable setting and it is a frustrating scenario when you only have one session on a Friday.
“We made the wheelbase longer to get a bit more stability from the bike and I did eight laps and we made some changes based on comments about the good and bad points. But then it started raining so I couldn't see if the changes were moving me in the right direction. I'm looking to be more comfortable and not feeling so on the limit not doing the quickest times.
“When the bike is not set-up right you always feel on the limit even though the lap times are not as fast as they should be. We'll find what I need but you need to be out on the track to find it. I really want to get a good result this weekend given that this is the home race for Tech 3, and the team is celebrating its 20th anniversary.
“It's incredible to think they have been racing in grand prix since I was eight years old! I'd love nothing more though than getting a good result for the team in France.”