Edwards Falls, Lands on Second Row

Henny Ray Abrams | June 13, 2009

Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Colin Edwards made an adjustment to his front end “and adjusted into the gravel trap” too late in the MotoGP qualifying session to recover.Edwards was fully expecting to get knocked back several rows after crashing with six minutes to go, but was pleasantly surprised to find himself on the second row for Sunday’s sixth round of the MotoGP World Championship at the Montmelo circuit north of Barcelona. But he was never happy with the front end performance of his YZF-M1 and will start the day with a critical morning warm-up to make sure he has a machine he can race for 25 laps in what’s expected to blistering heat.Edwards and Valentino Rossi often come to the same conclusion on set-up, Rossi said on Friday afternoon. Now both are struggling with the front end. Edwards said his bike hadn’t felt right since he rolled out of the garage on Friday afternoon. And trying to fix it is what landed him in the gravel trap as the session was winding down.”Hit the brakes and I lost the front pretty early,” he said of his crash in the turn four 180 degree right-hander after the team had taken some pre-load out of the forks. “I wasn’t really where I would normally lose the front. It was before that, still pretty hard on the brakes.”Told of Rossi’s comments, Edwards agreed and added that he was “hypersensitive when it comes to front end feeling or performance. Hasn’t seemed to be right since yesterday, since we got here. What we had at Mugello or what we had at Le Mans or Qatar-all year-it just seems difficult to get feel. I feel like it’s just on marbles. I go in and, typical Bridgestone-you’ve got to push it to hold a lot of load-and I push it and it’s not planted. It’s just kind of dancing around a little bit.”The tire is the same hard front that he used to good effect in the Malaysia pre-season test under similar conditions, but it isn’t working here.”I just knew when I crashed I was going to come back in on the fifth row or something. Luckily, fortunately, I pushed hard on the first couple tires to get a decent time. I thought there was more there. A couple little mistakes throughout those laps. And we survived on the second row.’Now comes the race, which he described as an exercise in survival. “Once your tires drop off you just gotta etch it around as fast as you can. Balance is the main thing around here. If you get the thing balanced, then it seems to work. If it’s unbalanced, then you’re going to find out, especially in the race. It’s not good when you’ve run five laps and your bike’s out of balance and you go, f–k, I’ve got another 20 laps.”And his experience on Saturday doesn’t make him confident of having a competitive race pace.”No, not really. It wasn’t good enough,” he said. “I don’t think it was good enough. But we were on a bike that we didn’t like.”So he’ll revert to the setting he used on Saturday morning that he went well on and “just roll with that.”

Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.