Colin Edwards and Cal Crutchlow head to the all-important home race for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team in France this weekend confident they can continue their brilliant start to the 2011 MotoGP World Championship campaign.
And not only is this weekend’s encounter at the legendary Bugatti Circuit in Le Mans the home race for Tech 3, the event is sponsored by the Team’s main backer Monster, adding further importance to the fourth round of an engrossing season.
Edwards heads into this weekend’s race in optimistic mood after he claimed his first top six finish of the campaign in the Portuguese Grand Prix earlier this month. And he impressed again during a one-day test at the Estoril track to finish inside the top six having worked on a range of suspension settings to improve rear grip with his Yamaha YZR-M1 machine.
The vastly experienced American has produced some of his finest MotoGP performances at the 4.815 km circuit and one of his three premier class pole positions came at the French venue in 2007. Two of his 11 podium finishes have been scored at the Le Mans circuit, which has been a permanent fixture on the MotoGP calendar since 2000.
British rider Crutchlow is aiming to continue his fantastic rookie campaign and the 25-year-old won’t be daunted at the prospect of having to learn another new track. Crutchlow had never raced in Jerez and Estoril before but he qualified and finished comfortably inside the top ten in both races.
He’s made another impressive top ten finish his prime target for this weekend after he produced a sensational performance in the recent Estoril test. Demonstrating how quickly he has adapted to the challenge of riding a lighter and more powerful MotoGP machine, Crutchlow finished fourth quickest behind Marco Simoncelli, Jorge Lorenzo and Casey Stoner and is determined to deliver another good result for Tech 3 and Monster in this weekend’s 28-lap race.
Colin Edwards, 9th in standings, 18 points:
“I am really looking forward to Le Mans because it is a track where I’ve had a lot of success at in the past. The Yamaha YZR-M1 has always worked well there too with the sweet handling characteristics of our bike suiting the layout of the track. We had a really good test after the race in Portugal and found a good direction to work with for improving rear grip and that should help us a lot. The new Yamaha chassis has a lot of potential but we still have to understand it a lot more to get the best performance out of it. A top six in Portugal is going to be hard to repeat because the field is so strong this season, but that’s what I’ll be aiming for. This weekend is huge for Tech 3 and Monster and I’ll be giving it 100 per cent to deliver a good result for both.“
Cal Crutchlow, 8th in standings, 21 points:
“I’m heading to Le Mans with a lot of confidence, even though it is another track I’ve only ever seen before on TV. I know it won’t be an easy task but Estoril was obviously another great weekend form me and then to finish fourth quickest in the test showed what I am capable of. Each time I get on the bike I am learning more and more and thanks to my guys at Monster Yamaha Tech 3 I’ve been able to make some big progress. I’m always determined to get the best result possible but this weekend definitely has extra significance being the Team’s home race and Monster being title sponsor of the event. If I can replicate the results I acheived in Jerez and Estoril I’ll be really happy.”
- Length – 4.180 m / 2,597 miles
- Width – 13 m
- Left corners – 4
- Right corners – 9
- Longest straight – 674 m / 0.419 miles
- Constructed – 1966
- Modified – 2008
- Fastest Lap: Dani Pedrosa (Honda), 2008 – 1’32.647
- Circuit Record: Valentino Rossi (Yamaha), 2008 – 1’34.215
- Best Pole: Dani Pedrosa (Honda), 2008 – 1’32.647
- Top Speed: Casey Stoner (Ducati), 2009 – 292.6 km/h
[Press Release and Photo Courtesy of Tech 3 Yamaha]