Colin Edwards kicked off preparations for his home race at Laguna Seca with ninth place in Friday practice for the US Grand Prix.

The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider was 1.127sec from fastest man and Factory Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo, but claims he's feeling good on the bike.

"Today was a decent start and I'm happy with the way things went," said the Texan. "In terms of the position it is not my best start to a weekend at Laguna Seca, but I'm actually happier with the feeling of the bike than I have been for a long time at this track.

"The bike felt really good from the start, though we can make some improvements to the rear tomorrow just to make it feel a bit smoother and a bit less nervous. I'm confident for the rest of the weekend because I'm pretty close to the top six and we know we can go faster.

"I want to say a big thanks also to Bridgestone. They agreed to bring some softer tyres for this weekend and it was definitely the right choice. When it was cool this morning we really needed the softer tyres, so everybody could just get a feel for the track and get comfortable without taking too many risks.

"We ran the harder tyre this afternoon and that will definitely be the race tyre, and we got some good information with that too, so I'm optimistic that I can put on a good show for the American fans, who have been amazing already this weekend."

Friday's two 45-minute sessions saw team-mate Cal Crutchlow get his first taste of the legendary California circuit.

Crutchlow finished the day the fastest of the Laguna Seca rookies in 13th, 0.524sec from Edwards, despite twice running off at the famous Corkscrew turn.

"It wasn't a bad day at all although obviously I want to be much higher up than 13th," said the Englishman. "At the moment it is quite difficult to do the lap time. I know going fast never comes easy but it feels like I'm quite close to the limit and I'm still over 1.6s behind.

"I'm the best of the rookies and that's a good start but it seems we've taken a step sideways and everybody else has taken a step forward. The bike feels better than Germany last weekend but we can still make it better. We're not far away and we've got some ideas to work on tonight but it also a lack of track knowledge that doesn't help.

"Trying to learn the track and go fast at the same time is not easy, but I'm making progress. The track itself is really good fun. The Corkscrew is pretty amazing although I've run off there twice.

"The key part is the approach and it is weird running up to it, because you can't even see it as you climb the hill. But it is a pretty amazing corner and it feels like you're dropping off the end of the earth."


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