French MotoGP: Colin Edwards hopes to mount victory challenge

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Colin Edwards is hopeful he can mount a genuine challenge for his first MotoGP victory in France on Sunday as he made a positive start by clocking the third fastest time in today’s opening free practice sessions.

The American claimed his first premier class pole position in France a year ago and the Le Mans circuit is also where the Tech 3 rider scored his first Yamaha podium in 2005.

The double World Superbike champion was only edged out by world championship leader Dani Pedrosa and reigning champion Casey Stoner as he clocked a best time of 1:34.287.

Edwards, who was on pole position at the last race in Shanghai earlier this month, said: “It’s a case of so far so good. I got my first pole position here and my first podium for Yamaha but we have yet to win one so that’s what we need to focus on.

“I kept the China set-up that was a bit foreign for us there just to play around with it and it works really good here too, and I think we have already got a race tyre.

“My best lap was on the 16th lap of a race tyre and I did 25 laps on another rear tyre, so we have pretty much got a race tyre sorted which is good and I’m not stressing about that at all.

“The biggest thing we have been concentrating on is traction. In the first three races we never had a problem with traction and in China we had a big problem. So with the big change we made in China it is working better.

“I tried the standard setting first this morning but as soon as I went to the China set-up I was faster immediately. The bike is a bit more nervous and twitchy under acceleration and I don’t feel as smooth as I normally do, but I’ve got traction.

“If we can save the tyre by not spinning it as much and actually getting load on it and getting grip then I don’t mind it moving around a bit.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt