Colin Edwards and Cal Crutchlow continued their solid start to the 2011 MotoGP World Championship with sixth and eighth place finishes in Sunday's Portuguese Grand Prix at Estoril.
Edwards, denied a podium by a technical problem on the last lap in Spain, claimed the season-best sixth after losing touch with Valentino Rossi and Andrea Dovizioso in the middle stages of the 28 laps.
"I don't know what happened at the start but there was stuff going on everywhere,” said Edwards of the first lap. “I saw Casey have a big moment and then Simoncelli needed a parachute, so it was just survival for the first few corners and see what happened.
“I saw Valentino and Andrea right in front of me and I was ready to reel them in. I was getting closer but I was pushing so hard just to stay in touch I lost a bit of side grip in the middle of the race and the lap times dropped a bit.
“I couldn't have tried any harder to catch them and felt I had the pace in some areas, but when I opened the throttle the traction control would kick in because I was having quite a bit of wheelspin.”
Edwards was the top satellite rider in the race and felt he'd achieved the maximum possible.
“To be in the top six in this field is still a great achievement for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team and me. I can't really ask for anything more because I know the package I'm on and I know how fast the factory bikes are and the guys sat on top of them,” he said.
Team-mate Cal Crutchlow spent much of the race battling Hiroshi Aoyama for seventh place and only lost out on what would have been his best MotoGP finish after a final lap pass by the Gresini Honda rider and former 250cc world champion.
“I'm happy enough with that because before the start of the weekend I'd have never thought it possible to finish in the top eight on a circuit I'd never even seen before. And considering I had problems with both my arms all weekend, it is a great feeling,” said the Englishman, who underwent arm pump surgery after Jerez.
“My right arm, which I had the operation is fine, but my left arm is really sore because I've been compensating with it. But the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team have been awesome all weekend. They have experience of helping rookie riders and they are doing a great job for me. And they've adjusted the bike to help me feel more comfortable with the arm problems.
“It is a shame I couldn't quite beat Aoyama at the end. Earlier in the race I felt really comfortable and kept some really fast and experienced guys behind me. It was a really good battle with Aoyama and while I don't like to get beaten in a last lap fight, I gave him a good run for his money and it is great experience for me to be in a scrap like that.
“If I keep doing what I'm doing at the moment then there is no reason why on tracks that I know that I can't be even further up. I'm really looking forward to Le Mans now. It is a massive race for the Team being in France and also for Monster, so I'll be looking to get another top ten finish.”
In a change from previous years, Tech 3 will join its rivals in testing at Estoril on Monday.