Assen MotoGP: Colin Edwards finds form

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Colin Edwards made a welcome return to form today when he posted the fourth quickest time in opening practice at Assen.

The American has had a tough start to 2010 but a front-end geometry setting transformed his confidence with his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1.

Edwards, who has claimed two podium finishes in the famous Dutch TT, ended the session in fourth position and was just 0.013s from compatriot Nicky Hayden in third place. 

The double World Superbike champion logged a best time of 1.35.699 on his 25th and final lap and he said: “I really needed that after a tough start to the season. My bike is quite a bit different to what it has been and I’m running a front geometry setting that is a lot different to what I’ve ever run before.

"I’m just trying to make the bike turn easier and a little more natural and it is similar to the setting that Valentino (Rossi) and Jorge (Lorenzo) like. I’ve got a lot more confidence than Silverstone because that was not a positive weekend at all. This track is a lot more free flowing and you have to keep a lot of momentum and that suits my style.

"And I can just get the bike to turn better and that’s where I’ve been lacking. Now the bike feels great and I’m looking forward to a good weekend.”

It was also an encouraging start to the weekend for Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team-mate Ben Spies.

The Texan, who claimed a stunning maiden podium finish in last weekend’s British MotoGP race at Silverstone, was running in fourth place in the final ten minutes before he dropped down the rankings to eighth.

Spies was only 0.020s away from a top six finish though and his best lap of 1.35.942 was just over 0.7s behind Lorenzo’s pace.

The reigning World Superbike champion is confident he can claim his first ever start from the second row of the grid with planned changes overnight to help the turning performance of his YZR-M1 machine.

The 25-year-old said: “It was a decent session though we definitely need to make a couple of changes to the bike to make it a bit better in the longer turns. I had quite a good set-up at Silverstone to make the bike more nimble and we started with that setting here. But it wasn’t working that well so we’ll go back to what we know works tomorrow and I’m confident it should be better.

"But I worked a lot on the hard race tyre and I’m definitely happy with the performance and the balance of the bike. I just need to make the bike turn better when I’m on the throttle. I’m really happy with corner entry but I’m losing a lot on the longer turns.

"The target tomorrow will be to get on the second row and I’ve not managed that yet, but the times are so close that with a couple of improvements to the bike I’m sure that top six is a realistic target. Looking at my last eight laps I’m not far at all and I’m looking forward to another positive weekend.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt