Boosted by a second place finish just before the summer break at Donington Park, Colin Edwards enjoyed his best Friday 'for a long time' with fourth in free practice at Brno.
A best lap of 1min 57.741sec saw Edwards miss out on a top three place by just 0.157sec to Honda's Dani Pedrosa, but the 35-year-old helped Yamaha secure three of the top four places.
“I'm happy to be high up and in fourth because I feel in really good shape and we've carried the confidence gained in Donington to this race,” stated the Texan, the leading satellite rider in the world championship. “I feel really happy with the bike because we played with the setting a little bit just to get some more speed through the chicanes.
“That's crucial at this track. You need to brake late but then release the brake early and carry the momentum through the chicanes. The balance of the bike is almost there, but I've not felt this good after the first hour for a long time. So I feel like I'm way ahead of the game at the moment,” he declared.
Brno is the first round to feature the new engine rules, which limit each rider to a maximum of five engine changes during the final seven races of the year. Edwards thinks the new long-life spec made a slight difference, but nothing too significant.
“We've got these new engine restrictions to work with now and I don't know if my head is being completely accurate, but I could feel a little bit of a difference,” he said. “The engine felt smoother but just a little bit flatter at the top. If there's been any power loss it's not that much, but the character is a little bit different."
Team-mate James Toseland, who equalled his career-best MotoGP result with sixth at Donington Park, ended the session with the eleventh best time. The Englishman was one second behind Tech 3 team-mate Edwards.
“I had a small problem with the front-end at the start of the session and it took us a while to get that fixed to the point where I felt I could have gone much faster,” said James. “I had slightly softer springs in the front but it wasn't loading the front tyre enough. It made it really difficult to turn the bike in the long chicanes and being fast in those sections is crucial at this track.
“We got there in the end but it just took a while. By the end I was running comfortably in the 1min 58s, but I'd done nearly 20 laps on the rear tyre and it just started to move a little.
“I felt comfortable doing that time on old tyres, so I'm sure now we've found a good direction with the front that I can go much quicker tomorrow. The new engine rule hasn't changed too much for me, only that we're only running one bike on Friday and Saturday and then another on race day to keep the mileage down on both.”