Colin Edwards made a superb start to the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend, finishing Friday sixth of the combined practice times. The American was competitive throughout the day and put his performance down to the pre-season test where he found a comfortable set-up on the YZR-M1.
“Today was a really good day and I was fast straight out of the crate. I was fourth for almost the whole of the second session and I’m happy to end up sixth. We pretty much ran the bike with the same set-up that we left the second test with in February and it felt great. That proves that testing twice here and riding lots of laps in punishing heat does work because we tried a couple of small changes on the bike but pretty much came back to the test setting. The first thing you need here is front-end confidence and the front was awesome right from the start. That gave us an opportunity to focus on improving rear grip and that’s critical here. If you can get a set-up where the rear tyre is driving and not spinning, you can have a good race. The track is lacking a bit of rubber on it compared to the test but apart from that it feels pretty good.”
Edwards doesn't have a particularly good record in Malaysia but feels he has the equipment underneath him to improve that this weekend.
“The conditions are typically hot here in Sepang but maybe it doesn’t bother me as much as some of the others. I’m from Texas so I live in this type of heat and humidity and I’m pretty much used to it. Even though I’ve done millions of laps around this track I’ve never finished higher than eighth, but after a start like today I’m confident that I can do much better than that.”
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 teammate Cal Crutchlow didn't enjoy the opening day of the weekend quite as much as the Briton suffered on the low-grip surface. Crutchlow was 15th overall but expects to be a lot higher up when he's optimized his set-up.
“Today was pretty tough to be honest and not just because of the extreme heat and humidity. We’re searching for front and rear grip and when the conditions are as hot as here, that’s not an easy task. I’m missing side grip on the rear and like a few other tracks we’ve been to recently, I’m having problems getting the bike turned. The track is obviously in a lot different condition to when we tested here because the times are about two seconds slower, but I’d hoped to be a bit higher up the rankings.”
“I knew it was going to be a tough day because I found this place hard during the two tests at the start of the year. It is such a long lap that it is difficult to get a lap nailed perfectly, but looking at the timesheets I am a second off fourth place and I’m not happy with the bike, so that gives me some encouragement. We’ll continue working hard as always tomorrow and I’m sure we can find a few tenths to move up the order.”