Colin Edwards heads into Saturday night's first ever qualifying session for the new privateer CRT MotoGP class feeling 'really happy' for the first time on his Suter-BMW.
Almost on a par with Aspar's Randy de Puniet after the opening Thursday session, Edwards moved ahead of the Frenchman to lead the CRT riders for the first time in FP2.
Aprilia rider de Puniet - the leading CRT throughout winter testing - edged back ahead by 0.049sec in the third and final practice session, a situation Edwards aims to reverse in qualifying.
“Thursday was ok, we didn't do anything special and we were still right behind De Puniet. Then today we made a big step on setting: a little bit on the electronics, a lot more on chassis so far,” explained Edwards.
“I'm feeling really happy for the first time on this bike. I am not going to change anything from tonight to tomorrow; I'm not changing anything on the setting. I need more time, I want to adapt myself a little bit more and find the limits.
“As far as the first qualifying session, I'm feeling confident. It should be interesting. You know I've always thought that the race is the race and qualifying is for show…We would definitely like to get our bike as the first CRT bike, if we could mix it up with the back of the prototypes that would be fantastic. Thanks to my team, this weekend they have done an incredible job.”
One-second separated Edwards and de Puniet from the slowest of the manufacturer bikes after final practice, as the pair lapped three-seconds from the factory M1 Yamaha of Jorge Lorenzo.
“We face the first qualifying session of the season and for the CRT´s in a very positive way,” said team owner Giovanni Cuzari. “So far every time the bike has tested it has improved and this make us be confident for tomorrow.
“We are aware of the gap with the factory bikes, and as for the CRTs we would like to be within the first ones.”
In terms of top speed, Edwards is currently the fastest of the CRTs at 316.8km/h, but still lacks 10km/h to the slowest manufacturer bike and 20km/h to the fastest factory machine.