Colin Edwards and James Toseland
both made a strong start to the Australian MotoGP weekend, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 duo finishing a closely matched fifth and seventh in opening practice.
Reverting to a front-end setting that he hadn't used since pre-season testing, Edwards worked his way steadily up the order to finish just 0.060s behind Alex de Angelis
(Gresini Honda) and the second best Yamaha after pace setter Valentino Rossi.
“I went back to a geometry setting on the front that I haven't tried since we were testing in Malaysia right back at the start of the year,” revealed Edwards. “Honestly, I asked what Jorge has been running and they said it was the setting I'd used in the Malaysia test. So with it obviously working well for him lately, I decided to give it another go because I really liked it in testing. It's basically just taking a bit of weight off the front compared to what I've been running most of the season.
“At the start it didn't feel that great but we played around with some spring settings and the feeling was much better. This track is so fast that you've got to make the setting much softer and that's what we did. And it felt much better because once you've got a stable bike underneath you at this track then it becomes a piece of cake. But if the bike is set too hard then it makes it really difficult to ride with such a rigid feeling.
“I need to thank my guys at Tech 3 because in one hour we got through a lot of work this afternoon to get to where we ended up with the bike. Generally we show up and the bike is in the ballpark, but today we were still out in the car park waiting to get in,” he joked. “But my guys did an amazing job and we can still make it better tomorrow, so I'm confident we can have a strong weekend.”
Toseland, who delivered one of his best MotoGP performances at Phillip Island last season, was one of only four riders to top the session - and was holding sixth when he lost the front at Lukey Heights with 33 minutes gone, ultimately costing him one position.
“I feel I'm in my best position on a Friday for a long time,” said the Englishman. “I was fast right from the off and in the top six for a long period which was really encouraging. My guys worked hard as always to improve the bike and by the end of the session I felt we'd made some real progress. I had a small issue with the balance from front to rear when exiting corners, but we've got some ideas on how to improve that tomorrow.
“I had a small crash going down the hill after Lukey Heights and that was just a small mistake of mine. I was good in that section of the track and looking to make up some time on the splits where I wasn't quite so fast and I just lost the front. It cost me a bit of time but didn't knock me out of my rhythm too much and by the end I was happy with my times and confident I can be fighting for a top six on Sunday.”