American duo Colin Edwards and Ben Spies are confident they can mount a double attack on the top five in Sunday’s Misano MotoGP race after a strong showing in first practice.
Edwards quickly shrugged off the disappointment of his retirement from last weekend’s Indianapolis MotoGP race to finish with the fifth best time in Italy this afternoon.
The 36-year-old, who has been an offer to remain with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 squad in Misano, set a best time of 1.35.834. Although that was 1.062s slower than Dani Pedrosa’s blistering pace, the Texan was only 0.295s behind reigning world champion Valentino Rossi.
Edwards said: “That was a good start to the weekend and I'm really happy with the bike. We had a bit too much weight on the front at the start of the session and a little adjustment to get more weight on the rear really helped my confidence.
"I kept the same rear tyre for the whole session and it felt really good. It was the softer option but it already looks like that's going to be the race tyre.
"It performed really well over a long distance and my fastest lap was on lap 26, so we've got no worries about it being good for the whole race.
"And I didn't really have any spinning issues and I told my guys it felt like the best grip I've had all year. I think we can only make the bike better and I feel like my first top six of the season is definitely attainable on Sunday.”
Fellow Texan Spies was only 0.058s behind his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team-mate with a best lap of 1.35.892.
Spies arrived in Italy brimming with confidence after he claimed a stunning career first pole position in Indianapolis, which he followed with a best ever second place behind Pedrosa in the race.
And he said: “I'm happy with today and it's another decent start. Like Colin, I stayed on the soft tyre for the whole session and while I'm happy with the lap times, I know we can find some more time.
"We can make the rear better because I was just missing a bit of grip and stability that would allow me to go that little bit faster. And we can definitely make the front-end better.
"It wasn't a big problem but I wasn't as comfortable as I can be in the session. We've had a look at that already and know what we've got to try to make that better for tomorrow.
"So with a couple of minor issues I'm happy it was a solid session. There's definitely not one second we can find in the bike but there's definitely a few tenths we can find with some different settings we'll try tomorrow.”