Today saw the conclusion of the first test of 2011 and for the Monster Yamaha Tech3 squad of Colin Edwards and series newcomer, Brit Cal Crutchlow, it was a chance to familiarise themselves with this years new YZR-M1. Edwards was out testing a new engine, chassis and electronics package and completed 125 laps, eventually finishing the day in 9th on the timesheet.

“It was good to get back to work with the team and I am really happy with the development that Yamaha has done on the bike for 2011.” said Edwards after the session. “It has improved in every area and it was great to get back up to speed so quickly and post consistent and competitive lap times on each day. The engine is a big improvement in terms of power and the chassis helps me turn much better than I could before, so in all aspects I am happy and confident that I can have a strong season.

He added,“Looking at the field there is some unbelievable talent but I feel really motivated to repeat some of the strong results I had in 2009. It is not going to be an easy task but I am sure with the help of the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team it is not unrealistic to fight for the top six. I’m looking forward to being back on the back again later this month so we can fine-tune the package ahead of the first race.”

For series debutant Cal Crutchlow, the test was a chance to get used to the bike, and to also help his recovery after a post Christmas shoulder operation and the Brit had to recover from a high speed crash during the afternoon session on the 2nd day to eventually shave 1.3s off his personal best and finished 17th on the timesheet.

“I am happy with the test because I am still learning so much but I was able to run a consistent pace and drop my lap times on each day. I’m on a big learning curve and I wasn’t looking for pure speed. I’d never ridden at this track before and it is certainly a tough place to learn quickly. All the other guys have done millions of laps around here and I just need to build up my experience.” said Cal.

I’ve got to improve in every area but I’m happy and the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team are happy too. My times are in the ballpark of those set in last year’s race and that’s pleasing considering everything is still so new for me and I wasn’t in peak physical condition because of my shoulder. I need to improve in the braking area and also step up my pace on t he hard Bridgestone tyre, but I feel I’m getting more comfortable with the bike. I’ve been looking at loads of data and when we return later this month I’ll continue trying to adapt my style. I’m still riding the bike too much like a superbike, but I’m pleased that I’m progressing and getting faster.”