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Edwards, Crutchlow satisfied with day one

"This is a point and shoot track and there is no getting away from the fact that we are struggling on acceleration" – Colin Edwards.
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 riders Colin Edwards and Cal Crutchlow declared themselves satisfied with the opening day of practice for the Japanese MotoGP at the Motegi.

American Edwards finished tenth quickest on the combined timesheets after being an impressive seventh fastest in the first session.

Edwards explained that he struggled to gain more confidence and feeling on the hard compound rear Bridge stone tyre option.

“It was a decent start to the weekend without being anything too special," said Edwards. "I was reasonably happy this morning to be seventh fastest and really close to the top six. But this afternoon we ran the hard tyre for the whole session and I didn't really feel that good.

"I just can't get the lap time out of it even though I can't really pinpoint any specific issues with it. I can't sit down with my crew and tell them where we've got problems, but it made the bike a little bit more nervous."

The other time-consuming factor is a relative lack of acceleration from the satellite spec Yamaha.

"This is a point and shoot track and there is no getting away from the fact that we are struggling on acceleration," stated Edwards. "At a track like this where there is a lot of low gear acceleration points it shows up more."

Rookie Crutchlow, who had never ridden at Motegi before, expects to make significant progress as the weekend goes on.

“I'm happy enough with my pace today because this is a really weird and difficult track with a lot of really hard braking points that makes it very physical," he said. "I've had a few arm pump issues this year but thankfully the surgery I had a few weeks ago has done the trick because today I had no problems at all.

"Unfortunately we're lacking a bit of engine performance but there is nothing I can do about that. It is a bit of a disadvantage but I managed to find a second this afternoon, so that shows with more experience of the track I am able to make big progress.

"Track experience is vital because I beat Aoyama in Aragon a couple of weeks ago but today he is seventh fastest. I'm only three tenths from being inside the top 10, so if I can find that time tomorrow and get on the third row of the grid, I'll be well happy with that.”

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September 30, 2011 11:32 AM

A lack of engine performance has been the problem for the Tech 3 bikes for quite a few rounds now, as official speed charts show. Unlike last year, when Yamaha provided some upgrades for Colin and Ben, there's been nothing this year, and consequently both bikes have fallen well behind the competition. Crutchlow's bike is down a whopping 12kph on the back straight compared to Pedrosa's Honda, and that's not a top speed deficit you can recover with setup options. Neither does it help with Herve 's attempts to sign riders like Bautista and Dovi, because what they're seeing is a lack of support from Yamaha to help make the bikes more competitive.


September 30, 2011 12:03 PM

I don't see any remarks about "how bad the bike is". Poncharal himself has acknowledged the engine performance disadvantage, so he's hardly being disrespectful to his own team in saying that. Most riders will try to give an evaluation of their situation in a press release. That includes areas of strength and weakness. That's why Lorenzo is complaining of stability under braking this weekend, why Stoner is reporting rear grip problems, etc. Excuses? Well it's your prerogative to consider them as such. But it's not only Tech 3 riders that report problems or difficulties.

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