Colin Edwards happy with second row

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Colin Edwards declared himself happy with a second row start for tomorrow’s Malaysian GP in Sepang.

The American, who has been one of the most consistent and fastest riders in dry conditions, claimed fifth place in an eventful qualifying session today.

The session started on a full wet track, but quickly dried in Malaysia’s typically hot weather. But Edwards found himself struggling to post competitive lap times on the drying track, with his Michelin wet tyres lacking grip in the mixed conditions.

Edwards found himself down in last place for the early part of the session, and he opted to sit in the pits until the track dried sufficiently for him to run full slick Michelin tyres.

The Tech 3 Yamaha rider quickly found his pace and with nine minutes of the session remaining he moved to the top of the timesheets.

His best lap of 2.02.245 then moved him into second place in the closing seconds, only for a late flurry of quick times to relegate him to fifth.

It was still his best qualifying result since the German MotoGP race at the Sachsenring in July and Edwards said: “That was a pretty eventful session to say the least. I was last, first, tenth and ended up fifth and that’s how it can be on a drying track.

“You have tyres that were right for one moment, and then a minute later that’s not the right tyre and six or more guys go faster. At the start when it was already drying up pretty quickly, I just couldn’t get the tyres to work at all in those mixed conditions.

“I went out on one of the hardest tyres I had and it just wasn’t lasting, so I just decided to sit in the pits for a bit hoping it would get to a point where it would be dry enough for slicks. It was drying really quickly, but I was worried it was going to rain again and I was going to be in big trouble because I think I was last at one point.

“I think I was the first guy to go on slicks in the front and rear and I got to some decent times for the conditions, just using a soft race tyre to get some confidence for the qualifiers. I wanted to put the slicks on as soon as I could just to try and put in a decent time and improve my position in case it rained again. 

“I only used two qualifiers and my first one was just to understand how much grip there was. The grip was pretty good although there were still a couple of little damp patches you had to watch for. It only slowed us down by a second from last year’s pole but you just had to stay on line. You couldn’t really venture off line too far.

“On my last qualifier I did a good job but I made a small mistake and that might have cost me the front row. But with the way the session started and the problems I was having with the rain tyres on a drying track, I’ll definitely take a second a place on the second row. I feel good for tomorrow’s race.

“I’ve been going well all weekend in the dry and we played with the rear shock today, making the spring a bit softer and it feels even better. I’ve just got to convert it into a result now.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt