Monster Tech 3 Yamaha boss Herve Poncharal was left wondering what might have been after seeing Colin Edwards set the third fastest lap of the race - quicker than any other Yamaha rider, including race winner Jorge Lorenzo - but only finish seventh in Sunday's French Grand Prix.

"We have to think that we missed something big," said Poncharal. "We'd said that top five would be a dream but we could see from Colin's brilliant pace in the dry that had he started better when it was wet he could have had another podium in Le Mans.

"Colin struggled with some issues in the wet but as soon as he switched to the dry bike he was the fastest rider on track at some points and for sure a top three was a possibility."

The Texan's podium challenge came undone when he nosedived from sixth on the grid to 16th on the wet opening lap, where he remained until the track began to dry on lap five.

"I'm really disappointed because it was definitely a missed opportunity for a podium," said Edwards. "In the first part of the race on the wet tyres I just couldn't get the bike to turn. I'd lost so many places I was nearly at the back and I just wasn't comfortable. The bike was just sitting on the rear and I had no weight on the front, so I couldn't get into the corner."

However, once he'd switched to slick tyres on lap eleven, the 35-year-old produced an impressive charge through the field, eventually snaring seventh from Loris Capirossi on lap 24 of 28.

"I saw some guys come into the pits and I thought it was a couple of laps too early because there were still some wet patches out there. I waited for a bit and came in and on the first couple of laps back out of the pits I lost so much time again," he recalled.

"I was on the hard front tyre because I can't run the soft compound and it took a while to get some heat into it. I had a couple of moments but once it came good, it came really good and I got my head down.

"I think only Jorge was lapping faster than me and once I got my pace going I was catching people pretty quickly. To only finish seventh is a bit frustrating when you look at my times in the dry.

"At the end of the day I rode a good second half of the race. But the first half wasn't great and that cost me," he concluded.

Team-mate James Toseland also ran seventh at several points in the race, before losing out to Capirossi and Edwards at the end of his first bike-swap grand prix.

"I've never been in a flag-to-flag race before and it is definitely different," he said. "There's no time to lose concentration in the pits because everything is still happening so quickly. And when you go out on a damp track on slicks you can't lose focus. The team told me they were going to put 'OK' on the board as soon as the first person came in, and though nobody was coming in around me, I felt I came in at the right time.

"My pace on the slicks at the start was really good and I was seventh at one point. But I was on the soft front tyre and it kept getting hotter and hotter and the stronger front harder tyre was what I needed. When I was trying to stay with Colin at the end I just didn't have the front grip unfortunately.

"It was nice to be fighting up there again but on the other hand a bit frustrating because I think we could have had a seventh. It's not the best finish but I really feel we have made a step forward here and my team is working great. As long as we can keep working like this I'm really looking forward to the next few races," he declared.

"I'm really happy with James," said Poncharal. "The whole weekend he has shown a big improvement compared to the first three races and it was by far the best race of the season for him."

The home Tech 3 team used the Le Mans event to celebrate 20 years of grand prix racing.

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