Colin Edwards and Cal Crutchlow secured strong grid positions for tomorrows Italian Grand Prix, with Edwards out qualifying his British team mate, but only just.
Edwards will start in 6th place after setting a quick lap in the opening half of the session before yet another session was disrupted by rain. The rain confined the American to the garage until the closing moments of the session where he completed a few laps on the wet weather tyre in case the rain should return for tomorrows race.
That’s my best qualifying result of the season and I’m really happy with that.” said Edwards “The start of the session was really tricky because we all went out on slicks but there were parts of the track that were still damp. Your brain is telling you it is raining but you go out and push on slick tyres and that can be a bit unnerving. I gradually built up my pace and the track dried really quickly. I was on the soft front and soft rear tyre but the front was pushing a bit too much. I came in and changed to the hard front, kept the soft tyre on and I felt much better and did my fastest time with that combination.”
He continued, “I went out on the rain tyres right at the end just to check the bike balance with the wet setting. It also gave me a chance to check the grip in the wet and it felt awesome, just like in the dry. Once again I want to thank the people at the Mugello track because the new surface is just unbelievable. A lot of the big bumps that seem to upset my rhythm have gone and it feels much easier for me to lap at the pace I know I’m capable of here. I want to say hats off to my crew too because we changed the rear set-up of the bike for the dry and it gave me more confidence. I don’t think it gives me a major advantage but I’m just more feeling of what the bike is doing, so I’m looking forward to a strong race tomorrow.”
Crutchlow managed to improve his 11th place in the morning warmup to 7th in qualifying before the rain came. As his knowledge of the track improved, so did his times, as he continued his impressive run of top ten grid slots in his opening year in the premier class.
“We made a big step with the feeling from the front-end this morning and I was a second faster this afternoon. The changes we made gave me more feeling but I still feel very much on the limit with corner entry and mid-corner. I’m scratching my head a little bit searching for a solution but we need to analyse the data tonight and come up with a plan to improve for the race. Colin just took that second row from me before the rain came but it is great for the Team that both of us are up there and I’m in front of some riders who’ve got a lot of experience at Mugello, so that is satisfying.” said Cal after the session.
He continued, “I’m frustrated again though because I’ve lost more valuable track time. This job of learning the track and trying to be competitive is tough enough as it is, but with the sessions being disrupted makes it very difficult. I only went out in the rain to do a practice start and it felt fine. I also checked the grip in t he rain and in places it felt really good and in other parts it felt a little sketchy, so I’m confident I can get a good result in the wet or dry.”