Colin Edwards claimed a place in MotoGP history by finishing as the top 'Claiming Rule Team' rider during the race debut for the new privateer category in Sunday's Qatar Grand Prix.

Behind Aspar Aprilia's Randy de Puniet at the end of pre-season testing and start of the Losail weekend, Edwards and his Forward Racing Suter-BMW were best of the CRTs from qualifying onwards.

But it wasn't a straight-'forward' race, Edwards dropping to 16th during the opening lap, before working his way back up to the head of the CRT field.

13th then became twelfth when Cardion AB Ducati's Karel Abraham dropped out with technical problems and Edwards crossed the line twelve-seconds clear of de Puniet.

"The start was a little bit crazy, kind of bumping and banging," recalled Edwards. "Once I got out there I knew I was faster than those guys and just kind of picked them off one by one and got into a good rhythm.

"Had a small issue about half way, the bike made some funny noises at turn three and I think it was my fault I flipped it in a little bit too hard and I think I confused the electronics a little bit, they didn't know what to do. So that hurt me for a lap and then I got going again and got into a good rhythm."

Edwards, starting his tenth MotoGP season on Sunday, came close to claiming a notable scalp when he finished just one-second behind struggling factory Yamaha rider Ben Spies.

"I saw coming Spies back to me and I guess he had some issues," said Edwards. "I saw him coming and decided to push harder but I ran out of time. My NGM Mobile forward racing team is awesome, they have done a great job.

"The bike is just getting better and better. We still have some work to do obviously. Jerez is not going to be an easy track for us; its short, tight, twisty. This one at least [Losail] you have a bit of time to rest and relax."

Edwards finished 58sec behind race winner Jorge Lorenzo and set a best race lap one-second behind the slowest manufacturer time, of Ducati's Valentino Rossi.

"We are really happy with the results, the entire team is really happy," said crew chief Kornelis Veldeman. "We know we still have a lot of work ahead of us. We have still to improve the lap times and work in getting closer to the factory bikes in the next races even though at the end of the race we narrowed a bit the gap, which was surprising really."

For team owner Giovanni Cuzari the result completed a series of 'firsts'.

"I am very happy. It has been a weekend full of real developments and satisfactions," he said. "The rule of three 1s: we were the first to announce our participation as a CRT team, the first CRT to qualify, the first CRT in the race."


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