Colin Edwards believes he can claim his first top six finish of the 2010 MotoGP season at Misano on Sunday.
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider made the claim after finishing fifth in Friday practice for the San Mario round, when the Texan also edged out star rookie team-mate Ben Spies to be the top satellite rider.
Edwards spent the entire session evaluating the endurance potential of Bridgestone's soft compound rear tyre option in warm but breezy conditions.
The #5 posted his best time, which was one-second behind the factory Honda of Dani Pedrosa but just a few tenths from the best M1 of Jorge Lorenzo, on his 26th lap as he ran a full race distance of 28-laps on the same set of soft tyres.
“That was a good start to the weekend and I'm really happy with the bike," said Colin, who retired from last Sunday's Indianapolis round after a wrong tyre choice. "We had a bit too much weight on the front at the start of the session and a little adjustment to get more weight on the rear really helped my confidence.
"I kept the same rear tyre for the whole session and it felt really good. It was the softer option but it already looks like that's going to be the race tyre. It performed really well over a long distance and my fastest lap was on lap 26, so we've got no worries about it being good for the whole race. And I didn't really have any spinning issues and I told my guys it felt like the best grip I've had all year, so a big thanks to Bridgestone.
"I think we can only make the bike better and I feel like my first top six of the season is definitely attainable on Sunday," declared Edwards, who joined countryman Nicky Hayden in being taken out of last year's race on the opening lap by Alex de Angelis.
Spies arrived in Italy fresh from his first MotoGP pole and best-yet second place finish at Indy.
Riding on a track he won at in WSBK last year, the 26-year-old finished in sixth position just 0.058s behind Edwards.
Spies is confident that overnight changes to improve rear stability and front-end feeling with his YZR-M1 machine will help him challenge for a third successive front row start in Saturday's qualifying session.
“I'm happy with today and it's another decent start," said Spies. "Like Colin, I stayed on the soft tyre for the whole session and while I'm happy with the lap times, I know we can find some more time. We can make the rear better because I was just missing a bit of grip and stability that would allow me to go that little bit faster. And we can definitely make the front-end better.
"It wasn't a big problem but I wasn't as comfortable as I can be in the session. We've had a look at that already and know what we've got to try to make that better for tomorrow. So with a couple of minor issues I'm happy it was a solid session. There's definitely not one second we can find in the bike but there's definitely a few tenths we can find with some different settings we'll try tomorrow.”