Sepang: Edwards tops wet Friday practice Colin Edwards made a stunning return to form in typically scorching hot Sepang conditions today, the Tech 3 Yamaha rider ending the opening free practice sessions for the penultimate race of 2008 with the fastest time.
The American, who was fourth quickest in this morning's opening session, didn't let a brief interruption caused by a short rain shower this afternoon disturb his impressive speed.
Spots of rain continued to fall for the remainder of the session, but Edwards maintained his focus to clock a best time of 2.02.667 that edged out newly crowned world champion and fellow Yamaha YZR-M1 rider Valentino Rossi by 0.171s.
In air temperatures that peaked at 32 degrees, Edwards' performance was helped by a decision to revert back to a front-end setting he used at the beginning of the season. The modification immediately improved Edwards' confidence with the front-end of his YZR-M1, which also helped him drastically improve his corner speed at the long and technically challenging Sepang circuit. He was one of only three riders to dip under the 2.02 mark.
Track conditions were tricky in both sessions, riders dealing with a dusty track surface this morning, then light rain this afternoon.
At one point during the second session the rain was heavy enough to bring riders into the pits, but during most of the hour only a light drizzle fell, not enough to force riders to switch to treaded tires but enough to prevent them from fully exploiting their slick tires. Lap times hardly improved throughout the day, FP2 only a few hundredths faster than FP1. The MotoGP pack was impressively close today, considering this is MotoGP longest race track with a two minutes-plus lap time.
1 Colin EDWARDS USA Tech 3 Yamaha Yamaha 2'02.667 2 Valentino ROSSI ITA Fiat Yamaha Team Yamaha 2'02.838 3 Casey STONER AUS Ducati Marlboro Team Ducati 2'02.970 4 Shinya NAKANO JPN San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 2'03.050 5 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 2'03.232 6 Loris CAPIROSSI ITA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki 2'03.346 7 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA JiR Team Scot MotoGP Honda 2'03.430 8 Randy DE PUNIET FRA LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 2'03.474 9 Nicky HAYDEN USA Repsol Honda Team Honda 2'03.550 10 Jorge LORENZO SPA Fiat Yamaha Team Yamaha 2'03.598 11 Chris VERMEULEN AUS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki 2'03.723 12 Anthony WEST AUS Kawasaki Racing Team Kawasaki 2'03.925 13 Toni ELIAS SPA Alice Team Ducati 2'04.183 14 James TOSELAND GBR Tech 3 Yamaha Yamaha 2'04.190 15 Sylvain GUINTOLI FRA Alice Team Ducati 2'04.204 16 Alex DE ANGELIS RSM San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 2'04.281 17 Marco MELANDRI ITA Ducati Marlboro Team Ducati 2'04.391 18 John HOPKINS USA Kawasaki Racing Team Kawasaki 2'04.568 19 Nobuatsu AOKI JPN Rizla Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki 2'05.998
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