Despite being forced onto his spare bike, Colin Edwards concluded Friday's practice session at Mugello with fifth position, while team-mate James Toseland battled arm pump.
“I'm reasonably happy because I did most of the session on my second bike,” confirmed Edwards, who lapped just over one second behind fastest man Jorge Lorenzo. “I had a very small problem with my number one bike and my guys did a great job to get me out so quickly on the second bike.
“The second bike though had stiffer suspension settings and I had a little bit of front-end movement that was holding me back a little bit. And with the hard compound Bridgestone tyres at the end of the session I was getting a bit more movement. But I've got to say that Bridgestone has done a great job. It's the hardest rear I've tried all year and it feels great, despite the high track temperatures. And its typical Bridgestone because the more laps you seem to do on it the faster you go and even now that is still freaking me out.
“I think we've easily got half-a-second to come from the bike but I've got to smooth my riding out a little bit. Without getting the bike quite dialled in with the stiffer suspension settings I wasn't as smooth as I'd normally like to be, but we have got plenty of ideas to change it and I'm confident we're in for a good weekend,” added the Texan.
Toseland ended the session in eleventh with a best time half a second slower than Edwards.
The #52 was slowest of all in terms of top speed along the main straight, with his best speed 10km/h slower than Edwards and 20km/h slower than Honda's Dani Pedrosa. It is assumed Toseland's tardy top speed is caused by a slow exit from the fast final turn, something he will need to improve before the race.
“That wasn't a bad session really and I'm pretty happy,” said the Englishman. “I didn't start off feeling very comfortable on the bike and fair play to Gary Reynders and my team because they did a good job in solving some of the problems and we always went in the right direction with the set-up.
“It was really difficult to change direction with the setting I had at the start and it gave me arm pump and I never suffer with that. But because I was forcing the bike with my arms at the beginning of the session, once I'd got arm pump I couldn't get rid of it. Without that I'm sure the package I had was capable of going another three of four tenths quicker and that would put me in the top six.
“I felt comfortable too on the hard tyre because the last time I was on that was in Sepang in testing when I had my big crash. So to be half-a-second off fifth place on that tyre, I guess we're friends again,” he joked.
Toseland's YZR-M1 is carrying a number 50 sticker this weekend to show support for former Tech 3 rider Sylvain Guintoli. The French rider is currently recovering from leg injuries suffered in a British Superbike Championship crash at Donington Park earlier this week.
“I'm carrying Sylvain's race number on my bike as a gesture from the whole Tech 3 Team to show we're all thinking of him and wishing him a quick recovery,” explained James. “He's a great guy and we all want to see him back out on track as soon as possible.”