Colin Edwards finished as the top Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider for the fourth time in five starts after a last lap on James Toseland, but it was the Englishman who was happiest after the race.

The wet/dry Italian Grand Prix was a repeat of Le Mans two weeks' before and, just as in France, Edwards struggled badly in the opening wet part of the race before mounting a strong recovery in the dry.

The Texan dropped as far back as 14th after changing bikes as he battled to get heat into his hard front/hard rear slick tyres - then began charging up the order to finally snatch sixth place from Toseland on the very last lap.

"That race was almost exactly the same as what happened in Le Mans where I was losing time in the wet at the beginning and then charging through from the back in the dry," confirmed Edwards.

"I don't know why, but when the track is damp or full wet, I've got no confidence with the front. And being a front-end guy, if I've got no feeling then I don't go fast. When I enter the corner I get too much weight transfer to the rear and that makes the front feel really vague.

"I probably should have come in for my dry bike a couple of laps earlier than I did, but with the hard compound front and rear slick in, it took me a while to get temperature in them and I was having a few moments.

"I just put my head down and was able to get down to some decent times and to take the positive out of the race I at least came back to finish in the top six because I was way back. But I've got to get this bike fixed for me in the wet because I haven't sorted out that particular puzzle yet," he admitted.

Toseland had also struggled in the wet, dropping rapidly to the back of the field - prompting a brave gamble to become the first rider to change bikes, on lap four of 23.

It was a decision that eventually paid off handsomely, with Toseland able to lap over three seconds quicker than the rest of the field at one point.

The Englishman carved his way from 17th and last to find himself embroiled in an exciting duel for sixth place with Frenchman Randy de Puniet during the second half of the race.

Toseland won that battle but was unable to hold off Edwards, who finished 1.2sec in front at the flag. Like Edwards, Toseland ran hard compound slick tyres front and rear.

"That's my best result of the season and I'm happy with that because I feel I should be fighting around the top six on a regular basis," declared the double World Superbike champion. "I started the race with quite a hard spring in the rear shock and in the first few laps I was in trouble.

"I hadn't planned on coming into the pits so early for my dry bike but I had no choice. I was losing a lot of time so it was definitely a gamble worth taking. The first couple of laps on slicks were eventful while I was trying to get the hard tyres to temperature, but once I'd got a rhythm going I felt pretty confident and I was pleased I'd decided to come in early.

"The section of track with the new tarmac was a bit scary because that never dried through the whole race, but you could ride the rest of the track pretty much flat-out and coming in when I did definitely helped gain me a lot of places once I'd picked up my pace.

"I had a really good dice with Randy and there were a few good overtakes. It's the first race I've enjoyed for a while because for most of it I was fighting for the top six. That's where I was a few times last season and that's where this bike and team deserve to be. Hopefully I can push on in Catalunya."

"I'm really pleased with today's result and I want to give special congratulations to James," said team manager Herve Poncharal. "He has had a very difficult year so far but he's never given up and I'm pleased to see him back where he belongs and fighting for the top six. He showed a great fighting spirit to battle with Randy and this race will be a big confidence boost for him.

"It was another good weekend for Colin too. He qualified on the second row and he finished sixth and if he could have solved some of his issues in the wet I'm sure he could have been much higher. I'm convinced that Colin will be on the podium a few times before the end of the year," added Poncharal.

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