Tech 3 Yamaha rider Colin Edwards continued his impressive pre-season form today by setting the fastest time at the start of a three-day test session at the Phillip Island circuit.
Just six days after an exhausting but successful test at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia, Edwards clocked his best lap of 1.29.566 on the first of two Michelin qualifying tyres he tried shortly after 1pm. Evaluating new Michelin tyres and the latest electronics upgrades from Yamaha, the American's best time on race tyres today was a 1.30.832 set in a seven-lap run this afternoon as the Texan completed 77 laps in close to perfect conditions. That was the third fastest time on race tyres with reigning world champion Casey Stoner quickest in race trim.
James Toseland also impressed by setting the fifth quickest time on only his fourth appearance on the Tech 3 Yamaha YZR-M1. His best time of 1.30.864 on race tyres came on his 46th lap of an 81-lap stint today, with the British rider immediately on the pace as he returned to familiar territory at Phillip Island. Toseland's extensive track knowledge gained in his World Superbike career at Phillip Island immediately came to the fore as he broke into the 1.32 bracket on only his fourth lap. He then reeled off a series of consistent laps of 1.31 laps and finished just 0.03s slower than Edwards.
Today's action marked the start of the second of four 2008 pre-season tests for the Tech 3 squad, with tests in Jerez and Qatar to follow before the first race in Doha on March 9.
Colin Edwards 1st 1.29.566 - 77 laps, "It was a good day. I started with the same setting I finished in Malaysia and played around with that for the day. The bike feels good at this track compared to what I raced with a few months ago. Yamaha has been working hard and the new parts are definitely a step in the right direction, particularly with the electronics, which has helped on corner entry and exit. With a qualifying tyre in Malaysia my time didn't get any better. I had a couple of handling issues with the qualifier in Sepang so once I got a good pace going I chucked a couple of qualifiers in. It is the first day but you never know what the weather is going to do down here, and it could be raining tomorrow. We wanted to make sure with the adjustments we were going to make for the qualifier that it was the right way. In Sepang I had too much weight on the rear. The rear was taking over and running me wide and we made a change to get more weight on the front and get it to turn a bit better. It seemed fine and I'm happy with the lap time."
James Toseland 5th 1.30.864 - 81 laps, "The first few laps I was able to hit the exact same six inches of track and I got up to speed much quicker than I did in Sepang and Jerez. It was nice to be at the sharp end of the times and I didn't realize but track knowledge is even more important with these bikes to help things come together. When you can hit the same spot lap after lap without thinking about it then you can really concentrate on the bike set-up and that makes a big difference to help gradually improve. I've got a slight problem with entry to the fast corners. Just as I tip in I get a bit of chatter from the front. I'm losing quite a lot of time because of that problem because they are in such fast parts of the track. I could make up quite a lot of time if it wasn't for that. I'll try a new setting tomorrow morning to try and help before I do a race simulation. But it's nice to be doing decent lap times with a few problems. And I actually passed somebody on the brakes for the first time ever in MotoGP. I passed Chris Vermeulen going into the first corner turn which I was pretty proud of."