Colin Edwards is under no illusions about just how tough Sunday's San Marino Grand Prix will be.

The Texan, who matched his best 2009 qualifying of fifth for the fifth time this season - and third event in a row - believes that the likes of Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo will be setting a race pace around the mid-1min 35sec, a target he wasn't able to get near with the harder tyre.

Instead, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider is expected to battle for a top five place, and try to defend fifth in the championship from factory Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso, who will start from eighth.

"I would like to say I could win the race but it's going be tough," admitted Edwards. "Anything in the mid-35s pace in this heat will be very good and I'll need a good start and push it early with guys up front.

"It's been a little bit tough this weekend to get right on the pace, everything feels like it is happening faster than normal which takes a little getting used to. This morning we tried a different weight balance but that didn't work, I couldn't get enough weight on the front.

"We have played around with the front geometry and now I have headed towards the set-up used by Jorge Lorenzo and I think it's better. I've been fighting with running wide and not having enough turning.

"At the end of the session I put in the soft tyres and I thought, 'I either crash it or put in a fast lap' and I'm not sure I even shut off the throttle for the corner onto the back straight.

"The weather is hot but it's OK, when the adrenaline is pumping you don't know if it's the ice age or heat wave," he concluded.

Team-mate James Toseland faces a much greater challenge after qualifying just 14th.

"I had a tough session," confirmed the Englishman. "With the new set-up from Indy last week we are still finding our way with this geometry and just got a little bit lost with the direction but right at the end the feeling was a lot better.

"I think there is positive potential in the changes from Indy and following a meeting with the team I think we now have a better direction. We have been making changes to improve the rear grip but this has been compromising the front feeling, the changes aren't big but it's frustrating to be 14th.

"We are so close to finding something really good and being where Colin is and I know I can do the same job. I've got some more pace for the race and I'll give it my best shot even though it's difficult to pass here.

"On my final two laps the bike was feeling good and I was behind Dovizioso and I could stay with him but then Talmacsi was waiting for someone and got in behind Dovi, but he couldn't keep up and that slowed me. It is no one's fault, just bad timing," he stated.

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