Colin Edwards is confident he can give his home fans something to cheer about this weekend in spite of the fact that the Tech 3 rider could only manage the ninth fastest time during the first day's free practice for the US MotoGP at Laguna Seca.
The satellite Yamaha rider reported his YZR-M1 to feel better than it had in previous visits to the California venue and expected to improve his pace further during Saturday.
"Today was a decent start and I'm happy with the way things went," said Edwards. "In terms of the position it is not my best start to a weekend at Laguna Seca, but I'm actually happier with the feeling of the bike than I have been for a long time at this track.
"The bike felt really good from the start, though we can make some improvements to the rear tomorrow just to make it feel a bit smoother and a bit less nervous.
"I'm confident for the rest of the weekend because I'm pretty close to the top six and we know we can go faster."
The Texan, who finished second at Laguna Seca when the series returned to the track in 2005, added that he was pleased Bridgestone had brought a softer, and therefore potentially safer tyre for the teams to use while the track was rubbering in, even though it would likely not be used in the race.
"I want to say a big thanks to Bridgestone," he said. "They agreed to bring some softer tyres for this weekend and it was definitely the right choice. When it was cool this morning we really needed the softer tyres, so everybody could just get a feel for the track and get comfortable without taking too many risks.
"We ran the harder tyre this afternoon and that will definitely be the race tyre, and we got some good information with that too, so I'm optimistic that I can put on a good show for the American fans, who have been amazing already this weekend."
Edwards's team-mate Cal Crutchlow was mystified as to why he was 1.6s off pace-setter Jorge Lorenzo's time, particularly since the Briton felt he wasn't far away from the limit.
"It wasn't a bad day at all although obviously I want to be much higher up than 13th," he said. "At the moment it is quite difficult to do the lap time. I know going fast never comes easy but it feels like I'm quite close to the limit and I'm still over 1.6s behind.
"I'm the best of the rookies and that's a good start but it seems we've taken a step sideways and everybody else has taken a step forward. The bike feels better than Germany last weekend but we can still make it better.
"We're not far away and we've got some ideas to work on tonight but it also a lack of track knowledge that doesn't help. Trying to learn the track and go fast at the same time is not easy, but I'm making progress."
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