Colin Edwards is hoping to fight at the front of Saturday's Dutch TT after an equal season best fifth on the grid in Assen qualifying.

The American, third at Assen last season, topped the timesheets with just under 20 minutes remaining and only slipped off the front row in a dramatic final few minutes, but is confident his race pace is fast enough to mount a podium challenge tomorrow.

"I've got a busy feeling on race tyres now I'm using the longer wheelbase," said Edwards of his ne set-up. "It puts a bit more weight on the front and while it's not chatter I don't feel I'm absorbing the bumps as well as I need to be.

"At certain times it feels like I'm skimming over the bumps, but despite that I'm pretty happy with my pace. I did a 37.3 on race tyres and for race pace that's acceptable. I think low 1.37s or high 1.36s will be the pace if it stays dry, and I'm confident I can run those times.

"I'm happy to have equalled my best qualifying of the year, particularly as I feel we can make the bike better. I think we're looking good for tomorrow because the fourth section has [previously] been a bogey section for me and that's where you can gain or lose a lot of time.

"On the Bridgestone's it is unbelievable through that last section. They are just so stable you don't get the handlebars shaking or flapping through the fast sections. Everything just rolls nice and smooth and I think we can get out there and fight at the front tomorrow."

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team-mate James Toseland will start round seven from ninth on the grid, the British rider gaining more crucial experience on a radically revised YZR-M1 set-up.

The 28-year-old finished just over a second off Valentino Rossi's pole position time and just over half-a-second from fourth place.

Using new footrest, handlebar and seating positions that he tried for the first time yesterday, Toseland is confident that he can claim his first top six finish of the campaign in tomorrow's 26-lap race.

"I'm really happy even though I'm only ninth again on the grid," said the Briton. "We've spent a lot of time working on the race setting with the new set-up and I'm feeling really confident on race tyres.

"The weight we've put on the rear is really helping the Bridgestone work and its helping keep load on the tyre. We put a bit more weight on the rear again today and we're getting better rear grip. I'm just trying to work the rear tyre a lot more with that extra load on it and that means I can exit the corner a lot better.

"I've also got more stability going into the corner but on the softer tyres there was so much traffic that I got held up a bit otherwise I might have gained another couple of places. I had to roll off when I came across Toni Elias and that was a big shame because I'd just done my best first split of the whole session.

"Fingers crossed it will be dry tomorrow because I feel I'm getting close to where I need to be.

"After Catalunya I've done about 15 practice starts this weekend because it is crucial that I get away to give myself a chance of a top six. I'm trying a slightly different clutch just to be a bit smoother because as I release the clutch it has been a bit aggressive in the first few races. But I'm desperate to give Yamaha and my guys at Tech 3 a good result after all the help they've been giving me this weekend," Toseland concluded.



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