Monster Yamaha Tech 3 teammate riders Colin Edwards and Ben Spies finished the first day of practice on the hot, dirty Sepang Circuit looking for grip and separated by only three places.Coming off his season best fifth in last weekend's Japanese Grand Prix, Edwards started the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend off sixth fastest after making several changes to the suspension on his YZR-M1.His lap time of 2:03.393 mins. was .055 sec. from the top five on a day when the top 12 were all on the same second on a hot day. The ambient temperature was 100 degrees with the track 129 degrees. The circuit has been dormant for some time, leaving the surface dirty and slippery."I'm happy to be in the top six and really close to fifth but we have still got a lot of work to do," Edwards said on the first day of practice for the middle of three Australasian flyaways. "We changed as much on the bike in one hour that we would do in one day at the test because I was really struggling with front and rear grip. We had to move a lot of weight off the front because I wasn't as confident with the front tire as I have been recently. And I was changing the front and rear suspension a lot to try and improve the traction. I just didn't feel like I could carry any lean angle, so considering some of the limitations I had this afternoon, the position is not too bad. I know I was losing time out there, so with some more overnight changes I'm sure I can be faster."Having just raced in Motegi, one of many tracks new to the MotoGP rookie, Spies was happy to be at Sepang, a track where he was impressive during this past winter's two test sessions. "For how I felt on the bike, the lap times are not so bad because I honestly expected to see myself in dead last," Spies said after finishing the day with the ninth fastest time. "I just didn't feel confident enough with the bike to push it as hard as I normally can, but looking at the times I'm actually not too far off. So I'm actually not as worried as I expected because if we can improve the bike like I know we will, I'll be right up there and in a much stronger position. I've just got to keep plugging away but today we were just chasing front and rear grip. The bike didn't feel that balanced either but we've got lots of ideas and I'm sure we'll be quicker tomorrow and in a strong position to challenge for the top five on Sunday.”

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By Cycle News Staff

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