The Monster Yamaha Tech3 duo of Colin Edwards and Cal Crutchlow got the weekend underway in Jerez with a promising performance in free practice . The pair took to the track in the morning session to complete setup changes and Edwards continued his impressive start to the 2011 season by finishing in 8th and was the leading non factory rider.
For the second session Edwards used the hotter temperatures to work on race setup ahead of tomorrows session. Speaking afterwards, the American said, “We tried a bit of an experimental set-up with one bike we thought would work to help with the turning performance but it didn’t quite give us the result we were anticipating. It worked in some areas but it created some other issues, so we’ll go back to more of a similar set-up to what we ran in Qatar for tomorrow and we know that works. I was actually faster using the different setting but I just don’t feel I can run that pace consistently over a race distance.”
He continued, “What made it really difficult today was the wind. It was really gusting hard in some places, so you just had to be pretty careful because it was easy to get caught out. You just had to pay attention and get a feel for which way the wind was blowing because at least it was consistent in one direction.”
Cal Crutchlow continues to ride with his hand injury and also had to use today’s sessions to learn the circuit, but Crutchlow took to it like a duck to water, even beating Hector Barbera and Toni Elias who have a wealth of experience of the Jerez circuit. Eventually Cal ended 15th on the timesheet, and after the session wasn’t ecstatic with his result.
“I felt like I learned the circuit pretty quickly and I was happy with my performance this morning. But this afternoon I didn’t really make the improvement I was looking for and that was a lot to do with the track temperature being much higher. You only have to look at the times of the fast guys to see the hotter conditions made it hard because nobody in the top seven was faster this afternoon. I was a little bit quicker, so I’ve improved and gained some time, but I needed to make a bigger jump than I did. With the track temperature a lot higher it made the bike feel quite a bit different compared to this morning.”
He continued, “I’m sure I can improve the front-end feel becau se the wind was so strong it was blowing me off line. The front needs to be more planted so we’ve got some ideas to improve tomorrow. Considering my lack of experience at this track, I’m satisfied because the times are pretty close and I know we can improve.”