The Monster Yamaha Tech3 pairing of Colin Edwards and Ben Spies will start side by side for tomorrows Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi, after qualifying 5th and 6th respectively at Yamaha’s home grand prix.Colin Edwards continued to work on his setup after practice, and after adjusting the weight distribution on his chassis, started qualifying as a front runner. Throughout the session Edwards was a front runner, however if it wasn’t for a stunning final lap he would have been lower down the order.

“I’m really happy to be on the second row and in fifth position.” said Edwards after qualifying.  “That is my best qualifying result since Mugello, but I’ll admit after this morning’s session I was not expecting to be so high up and as fast as I was.”

“Yesterday when I ran the soft tyre I didn’t feel like I had enough grip so I hadn’t used it all today. I was a bit worried for qualifying that I’d find it hard but we’d played around with the weight distribution on the front again and when I put the soft tyre in this afternoon it felt like a different motorcycle. It did everything I asked it to do and I had a lot more confidence going into the corner. The lap time wasn’t easy but it was a lot easier than I’d expected. I think this is probably the happiest I’ve felt with the bike all year.”

Edwards is hoping he can convert the starting position into his first top 6 finish of the season. “I’ve been able to ride the bike to its full potential and I’m confident I can get that first top six finish of the season tomorrow. It is going to be a hard fight but I’m ready for it and I’m determined to get a good result for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team and Yamaha. This is a massive race for Yamaha and hopefully Ben and I can put on a good show with Valentino and Jorge.”

Ben Spies has never raced around Motegi, and despite the 6th place start, speaking after qualifying, he was a happy man. “I am actually really happy to be on the second row again because at the start of the session I was fighting a lot of stuff with the electronics. The chassis set-up is not so bad but some issues with the electronics made the bike really hard to ride. If we can figure out the electronics the bike will be a lot easier to ride, so having the feelings I’m having with the bike, I’m super happy to be in the top six.”

Considering the way the bike was working, to be just over half-a-second off pole position is a big surprise because I didn’t expect to be so close. The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team is working really hard to fix the problems but it hasn’t made the task of learning the track any easier. I have to deal with it and I’m still confident that we can be much stronger in the race. Sometimes you have a day when things don’t quite work out and it’s nobody’s fault”

“I can’t complain because when I look at the guys behind me, they have been around this track a million times. That gives me a lot of encouragement for tomorrow but we’ll have to see what the weather throws at us.”