Edwards was 10th and Crutchlow 14th in cold and blustery conditions this morning, and while they were able to improve their lap times in more favourable conditions in this afternoon’s second session, both slipped down the rankings by one position.
The experienced American spent the majority of the opening day working on trying to improve rear grip with his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 machine, and set a personal best time of 1.23.431 to finish 11th on the combined timesheets. Edwards was less than 0.5s away from the top eight and is confident overnight set-up changes will help him lap at a significantly faster pace tomorrow.
With track temperatures only reaching 21 degrees this morning, British rookie Crutchlow adopted a steady approach to learning the Sachsenring track, which is the second shortest on the MotoGP World Championship calendar at 2.281 miles. He concentrated on improving his confidence with the front-end of his YZR-M1, the former World Supersport champion trying a range of different set-up options to gain more turning performance on the undulating, tight and twisty Sachsenring track.
Crutchlow was able to lap 0.4s faster than his best pace from this morning as the track temperature increased and the strong wind eased slightly. But a small crash with just over 15 minutes remaining prevented him from bettering his time of 1.23.760. The 25-year-old finished in 14th position, though he was less than 0.5s from the top ten, and with more track experience he is aiming for a strong performance in tomorrow’s final practice and qualifying sessions.
This weekend’s 30-lap race marks the halfway point of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship and comes before a trip across the Atlantic for next weekend’s US Grand Prix at the spectacular Laguna Seca circuit.
?I’ve definitely had easier Friday’s than this that’s for sure. I don’t really know why but I never seem to get on with this track. My relationship with this track didn’t exactly get the best start back in 2003 with the barbecue at the bottom of the hill, and since then I’ve always found it difficult here. I always seem to have to end up turning the bike inside out to get a setting that works. This morning was pretty difficult because I couldn’t generate enough heat in the right side of the front tyre, and I guess I just wasn’t willing to push that hard and risk crashing. We saw what happened to the likes of Valentino and Dani, and I felt that was going to happen to me with the way the right side of the front felt. But it was cold and windy and definitely not ideal conditions. I used the hard front and rear compound this afternoon for the whole session and we made the bike better. But I still need more rear traction. That’s been my biggest struggle. It feels like I’m just skating on top of the tarmac but we’ve got some ideas to try tomorrow and I know we are going in the right direction to be closer to the front guys.?
?It doesn’t look good at all on paper, but it is a lot better than it looks and I’m not too concerned. The times are pretty close and I was consistent at the end of the session when I was running a really old rear tyre after the crash. I lost precious time with the crash, which I can’t really afford when I’m trying to learn the track. I went slow at the start of the lap and then I saw Stoner in the distance and tried to follow his line, but just ran a bit wide in Turn 9. It is pretty fast and I ran onto the grass but hit the biggest pothole I’ve ever seen and I couldn’t hold on. At least I tested the left shoulder out that I broke at Silverstone and it survived with no issues. This track is really tight and twisty and not that easy to learn, even though it is one of the shortest on the calendar. We worked a lot on improving the front-end feel today, and we are making some progress, but you always want more. Finishing 14th is not our usual position because normally I’ve been around eighth to sixth, but I know with some more improvements we can move higher up the timesheets.?
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team press release