By Lisa Crouch
Colin Edwards survived the wind and rain to finish fifth at Phillip Island on Sunday, but Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team-mate Cal Crutchlow had little to celebrate, suffering his fifth retirement of the season.
Starting seventh after the withdraw of factory M1 riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies, Edwards was to be the only Yamaha to reach the finish line. Fifth was also his second best result of the season, after a podium at Silverstone, also in tricky conditions.
The American insisted he didn't even consider puling in for his wet weather bike when a heavy rain shower arrived and simply concentrated on surviving the conditions.
“We know the wind plays a big part here normally, but today it seemed particularly bad and it was impossible to judge when a gust was going to hit you from one lap to the next,” He added “I never thought about pulling in for the rain bike. I was just riding as hard as I could but as safe as I could in the last couple of laps and fifth is a great result."
Crutchlow was less fortunate crashing, while racing Gresini Honda's Hiroshi Aoyama for eighth place, as the rain appeared unexpectedly on lap 24 of 27. The Englishman had experienced earlier trouble when his engine stopped on the grid after the warm-up lap.
Phillip Island was a track Crutchlow had been expected to do well at, as he had previously ridden there in WSBK.
Despite his misfortune, Crutchlow stayed as positive as possible. “I'd been having a really good battle with Abraham, Aoyama and de Puniet and I was confident I was going to finish at least eighth. The weird thing is Aoyama went down right in front of me on the same wet patch, so it was like synchronised crashing.” He added, “It's a pity because that cost me a decent result but I'll be looking to get back in the fight for the top ten in Sepang next week.”
Tech 3 team manager Herve Poncharal reflected on the contrast in his racers' performances.
“I am very happy for Colin because he did a great job in very demanding conditions. This result is a great boost for his chances of finishing the top non-factory rider in the World Championship."
On Crutchlow, he said: “I am a little disappointed on the other side of the garage because Cal knew this track and I thought he would have been a lot stronger here, but he found it very difficult to find a fast pace all weekend.
"I have to give him credit though because he never gave up and it was a dramatic race. Looking to next week, he also added “We hope Cal can return stronger in Sepang, which is another track he has ridden on.”
Free practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix takes place on Friday.