Edwards and Crutchlow denied top five in Assen
Colin Edwards and Cal Crutchlow both saw deserved top five finishes in the Iveco TT Assen elude them at the legendary Circuit van Drenthe this afernoon. After rain had played a major part in the earlier 125cc and Moto2 races, the 26-lap race started on a dry but cold track, with threatening grey clouds still looming overhead as the action commenced. With air temperatures only just reaching a cold 13 degrees and the earlier rain affecting grip levels, Edwards and Crutchlow both fitted the soft compound Bridgestone front tyre to their Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team machines. Crutchlow made the best start of his MotoGP career and ended the first lap in fourth place, the British rider showing phenomenal early speed to chase Casey Stoner and Andrea Dovizioso. Ignoring the pain of the recovering left collarbone he broke at Silverstone just 15 days ago, the adrenaline fuelled 25-year-old superbly kept nine-times World Champion Valentino Rossi at bay until he started to encounter a front tyre grip issue after five laps. Determined to overcome the issue to claim his first top six MotoGP finish, he fought brilliantly to remain in the top six until lap 11 when the problem worsened. The 2009 World Supersport champion opted to pit for a new front tyre on lap 13 and he demonstrated his true potential again in the second half of the race to set a fast and consistent pace on his way to 14th. American Edwards also encountered a front tyre grip issue as the race avoided any repeat of the earlier rain. Once he'd settled into a fast pace, Edwards was comfortably cutting the gap to C rutchlow and Rossi when his front tyre started to lose traction. He held fifth until lap 17 when he was unable to hold off compatriot Nicky Hayden. Edwards also then encountered a rare arm pump issue caused as he tried to compensate for the muscle damage to his left ribcage suffered in a recent crash at the Catalunya. Despite his best efforts the 37-year-old was unable to maintain his pace and he dropped down the order to finish in seventh position.