Monster Energy Yamaha Tech 3's Colin Edwards continued his strong start to the season by finishing the first day of practice for Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix with the fifth fastest time and only .7 of a second off the top three.The Texan, who finished fourth in the season-opening Qatar Grand Prix two weeks ago, concentrated on gathering information in what may be the only dry session prior to Sunday's second round of the MotoGP World Championship. Though the weather today was dry, it was unseasonably cool, which forced many of the riders to concentrate on the softer of the two Bridgestone rear tire options. But not Edwards, who went with the hard option. For a rider who's still adapting to the Bridgestones, the possible loss of Saturday's practice and qualifying to rain could mean that Edwards will start  Sunday's race with a lot of unanswered questions."Today was all about gathering information," Edwards said. "My thinking even yesterday was to start with the hard tire, because we knew it was going to be cold and the forecasts were showing rain for tomorrow, so I needed to get some information in the dry before the race. I started out with the hard tire and didn't change it for the whole session, just switching the same tire between bikes to play around with the setting. I'm sure if I had run the softer compounds I could have gone quicker, but Bridgestone think the hard front and rear will be what I'll need for the race."In years past, Edwards raced on a dual-compound Michelin. But the dual-compound tire isn't an option at Motegi, even though it has a preponderance of right-hand turns. Bridgestone is expected to have dual compound rears at Sachsenring and Phillip Island."It feels to me like the left side of the tire is a little bit too hard and I've got to make sure I get it warmed up," he said. "The right side feels really good, but you can't take too much risk in the beginning on the left, but once it comes to temperature it works fine. The bike feels really great to show what a great job Yamaha has done again. Today was a good start to the weekend and hopefully I can continue that to give Yamaha a good result in Japan."

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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.

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