US MotoGP: James Toseland not worried by lowly 13th

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James Toseland insisted he wasn’t going to press the panic button despite finishing opening practice for the American GP in a lowly 13th place.

Brimming with confidence after his season best sixth place in Assen last weekend, the 28-year-old logged a best time of 1.23.690 as he struggled to find rear grip at the Laguna Seca circuit.

Toseland though is confident he can make big improvements as he continues to be supervised by Yamaha engineering guru Masahiko Nakajima, who was again a permanent fixture in the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 garage.

 Toseland, who only finished 0.6s off the top six, said: “The position isn’t that great but I feel like it was a pretty decent session. We’ve got a bit of work to do but there is no need to panic.

“We’re just missing a bit on the set-up really. I’m lacking a bit of edge grip on the harder tyre, and that is the one we’re going to have to race with looking at the temperature.

“This track isn’t quite as good for grip as Assen and we know what we’ve got to do to get more grip from the rear but we just ran out of time at the end of the session. And I’m still adapting to the new set-up we had in Assen because that changed the balance of the bike quite a lot.

“With the tighter corners and the undulation it just takes a bit of getting used to being so different to Assen. I’m confident with the bike a bit more comfortable that I can go quite a bit faster and be up there challenging for a good result.”

Team-mate Colin Edwards also had a tough day, the Texan finishing ninth in front of his expectant home crowd. The 35-year-old, who could become only the 14th rider in history to score points in 100 Grand Prix races, blamed front and rear suspension issues for his slow pace.

He clocked a best time of 1.23.285 and said: “It wasn’t the great start to my home race I was looking for and the bike feels just way too stiff. The main problem is in the hard braking because I’ve no feeling with the bike bouncing around on me.

“There’s just not enough movement from the suspension. When you’ve got the handlebars moving and up and down and the seat moving up and down it’s obvious the suspension is not absorbing the bumps enough.

“There are some humungous bumps out there and today it felt a bit like motocross. So we’ll soften it up for tomorrow and make the suspension react faster and let it move more freely rather than having a jerky and bouncing sensation.

“It feels like there’s a second waiting right in front of me but I’m a bit handcuffed. Once we fix these issues, and I know we will because guys at Tech 3 are awesome, I’m not going to have to push and hang it out to find the time.

“I know it will come immediately as soon as we get the bike working. I’m confident we can find what we need and put on a good show for the American fans.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt