Edwards storms to first podium at Tech 3
19 May 2008 – Colin Edwards stormed to his first podium finish of the season in Le Mans today to hand a jubilant Tech 3 Yamaha squad its first premier class top three finish since 2004. Edwards finished third in a rain-affected 28-lap race to give Tech 3 its first home podium since 2003, while the American also helped Yamaha to its first clean sweep of the rostrum since 2001.
Starting from the front row of the grid for the fourth time in five races, the American was immediately in contention for the lead as he pursued reigning world champion Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa. Relegated to fourth by eventual Valentino Rossi on lap four, Edwards then spent 15 laps closely pursuing Stoner and Pedrosa, and in the process he clocked the second fastest lap of the race.
Rain started to fall on lap 16, dampening the track at certain points, though not hard enough for a second successive flag-to-flag race to be played out in front of a large French crowd. Edwards briefly slipped back to fifth on lap 20, but he moved back into fourth when Stoner encountered technical problems and secured his ninth podium when he passed Pedrosa on lap 22. The result helped move Edwards into fifth place in the points, while Tech 3 Yamaha is now level on points with Ducati's factory squad in the Team World Championship standings.
Colin Edwards commented on his race: "I honestly thought that today was going to be my day with the pace I'd been able to run all weekend. I was fastest in free practice, fastest in the warm-up and second on the grid so I had high expectations. I really thought I could have got my first win out there, but I'll still settle for third because it was a tough race.
"I thought I'd got a good start and then Casey and Dani came flying by and it was almost impossible to pass them. I tried everything, but they just didn't make any mistakes and I couldn't get close enough. I wanted to get by them because looking at my lap times I know I had more in the locker, but I couldn't pass. They just had the jump on me coming out of the corners with acceleration and it would have taken a risky move for me to do it.
"I'm an experienced rider and those guys are fighting for the world title while I'm in fifth, so I wasn't going to do anything stupid. And when Valentino came blazing by like a cowboy with his guns shooting I knew he was going to push hard and that it would be tough for me. Casey had a problem and I got by him and then I passed Dani, as he seemed to check a bit at the first corner because of the rain. I didn't think the rain was that bad and the lap times were not that much slower.
"I got to say a huge thanks to my team because I've wanted to give them a podium, and I guess there is no better to do it than in their home race. They've worked so hard and I'm glad to give them that podium. Congratulations to Yamaha as well because to have a 1-2-3 is fantastic. My Michelin tyres worked great too, so hopefully next time I can be closer to the win."