Colin Edwards was left searching for a front end fix after taking his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 to eighth place in Friday free practice in Catalunya, while team-mate James Toseland made his 'best start' to a 2009 grand prix.
35-year-old Edwards was as high as fourth place at one stage as he spent the session trying to iron out a front-end issue he encountered as track temperatures peaked at 49 degrees.
“Today I didn't feel very comfortable at all and I was having an issue with the front-end feeling,” confirmed the Texan. “Nothing feels natural and being a front-end guy as much as I am, when the front is not quite right it causes me a problem and today I just couldn't get a comfortable feeling.
“Keeping the front tyre loaded and generating corner speed is the biggest issue and I'm going to sit down with my guys tonight because we need to try and figure out a way to solve it with a better setting. We've always been able to quickly solve our issues this year so I'm confident we'll come out fighting closer to the front tomorrow.
“Today though I hit a bit of a brick wall because I was making some changes to the bike that should have improved my feeling but the lap time wasn't any better. I was having a problem getting the bike to turn and it just wasn't comfortable for me to push. If I did push the bike would just run wide and that was costing me time,” he explained.
British rider Toseland finished the session 0.161sec behind Edwards, but far happier with the handling of his M1.
“On paper it doesn't look spectacular but I'm really pleased with today because it was easily my best start to a weekend this season,” he declared. “I was seventh until the final minutes so that's encouraging and at the end I was out on quite an old rear tyre, which was moving around quite a bit. With a new tyre I'm sure I could have got a bit further up, but I wanted to get some information on the hard tyre for the race.
“We tried a slightly different setting on the rear shock, softening the spring to try and help the bike cushion the bumps a little bit better here because the track is quite bump to be fair. At the beginning we'd gone a bit too soft and that was making the rear of the bike sit a bit too low and we had to make a couple of small changes, but my team did a great job as always because it improved the feeling.
“We found a bit more grip at the end and I did my best lap on a rear tyre that had already done 16 laps and I was nearly half-a-second quicker than my previous best time, so it shows we're moving in the right direction,” he revealed. “After today I feel quite confident for the weekend. It looks like we'll get a good dry weekend and I had a good result here last year. So I'm pleased to have something to build on.”