James Toseland solved some front-end-handling issues to move to the fringes of the top ten in Brno today, the British rider ending opening practice in Brno today with the 11th best time.
The British rider logged a best time of 1.58.764 to finish just 0.025s adrift of Marco Melandri in 10th place on the Hayate machine.
The 28-year-old was just over two seconds off the blistering pace set by Fiat Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo but remains confident he can make big improvements tomorrow ahead of Sunday’s 22-lap race.
The double World Superbike champion said: “I had a small problem with the front-end at the start of the session and it took us a while to get that fixed to the point where I felt I could have gone much faster. I had slightly softer springs in the front but it wasn’t loading the front tyre enough. It made it really difficult to turn the bike in the long chicanes and being fast in those sections is crucial at this track. We got there in the end but it just took a while. By the end I was running comfortably in the 1.58s but I’d done nearly 20 laps on the rear tyre and it just started to move a little. I felt comfortable doing that time so I’m sure now we’ve found a good direction with the front that I can go much quicker tomorrow.”
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team-mate Colin Edwards continued his brilliant form in 2009, the American logging the fourth quickest time.
The 35-year-old posted a best of 1.57.741 to finish just 0.157s away from Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa in third place.
The British GP runner-up was ecstatic with his form and he said: “I’m happy to be high up and in fourth because I feel in really good shape and we’ve carried that confidence gained in Donington to this race. I feel really happy with the bike because we played with the setting a little bit just to get some more speed through the chicanes. That’s crucial at this track. You need to brake late but then release the brake early and carry the momentum through the chicanes. The balance of the bike is almost there but I’ve not felt this good after the first hour for a long time. So I feel like I’m way ahead of the game at the moment.”
Today’s practice saw the new engine restrictions come into force for the first time, with riders now only able to use five engines in the last seven races.
The move is designed to slash costs by reducing engine mileage, and as a result some performance has needed to be sacrificed.
Edwards added: “We’ve got these new engine restrictions to work with now and I don’t know if it my head is being completely accurate, but I could feel a little bit of difference. The engine felt smoother but just a little bit flatter at the top. But if there’s been any power loss it’s not that much, but the character is a little bit different.