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'Worst of the season' for Tech 3 at Sepang
26 October 2009
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 endured its worst event of the season during the penultimate round of the 2009 MotoGP championship at Sepang in Malaysia, which ended with Colin Edwards and James Toseland just 13th and 15th.
After struggling to ninth and 16th in dry qualifying, both riders hoped the sudden change in weather just before the race would work in their favour. It didn't.
“The weekend wasn't great to be honest. The bike wasn't fast in the dry for some reason and I just couldn't get going,” said Edwards. “The rain coming like it did it just made it a guessing game. I did two warm-up laps behind Valentino to check the conditions and from that moment the front feeling wasn't great.
“Even then I was worried I wouldn't be able to get any weight on the front and that's exactly what happened. I could carry the lean angle I wanted but the front wouldn't load at all, so I couldn't get the bike turned.
“When it was properly wet I felt like I was upping my pace and closing in on the group for tenth, but then the tyres started heating up and I was sideways all of the time. In the final laps I was losing a lot of time.”
Despite his worst finish of the year (aside from a DNF at Misano) Edwards still gained three points on factory Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso in the fight for fifth in the championship, after the Italian crashed out of third.
Edwards will now start the Valencia finale just four points behind the Donington Park winner.
“I'm going to Valencia still fighting for fifth in the championship with Dovizioso crashing, but I don't like taking profit from the mistakes of other people,” said Edwards. “I just want to say congratulations to Yamaha and Valentino. He's done another amazing job and nine world titles is just a phenomenal achievement."
Toseland hadn't been higher than 15th in any (dry) track session leading into the race and was left in last place throughout the wet race. Two retirements ahead meant the Englishman was classified 15th and claimed one point.
“I wasn't too sorry when I saw the rain to be honest because it had been a tough weekend in the dry,” admitted Toseland, who crashed heavily at Sepang in pre-season testing. “We went with the base wet setting but I had the same problem in the rain that I did in the dry.
“I just didn't have any grip on the rear and in the wet the problem was on corner entry to the apex. So my corner speed was just way too slow to make a decent lap time. I am not out there just riding around at the back.
“I was doing my absolute best and trying my hardest but it was impossible for me to go any faster with the feeling I had. It has been a tough weekend but I'll look to bounce back and finish strongly in Valencia."
Toseland will test for the factory Yamaha WSBK team at Portimao this week, ahead of his 2010 return to the championship.
Team manager Herve Poncharal is to investigate what went so badly wrong for Tech 3 at Sepang.
“It has been a very disappointing weekend and easily the worst for us this season,” said the Frenchman. “We were struggling in the dry so I can't say I was unhappy to see the rain because I thought this would give us a chance of improving our results. Unfortunately our performance was even worse in the rain and we can't be happy. Now we have to understand why we struggled so much this weekend.”
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