Colin Edwards Column - Dec 2006

I wanna build a bike that anybody can ride.


Colin Edwards - MotoGP - Building a bike for anyone
Figuring out the 990 just as the 800 arrives

Testing at Motegi has been awesome. We've finally got the Yamaha figured out - with two rounds to go. Setting up a bike is like putting bits of a puzzle together, and to be honest something was always missing. We messed around with the suspension and tyres and found something that should work everywhere. I can't say too much as Michelin may be keeping some stuff under wraps, but it's magic now. I was going a second faster than in the race. Valentino had the fastest lap of the race with a 47.2 and on the Monday on a race tyre I was doing 46.6, then a 46.7 then a 46.8. I ended up six-tenths quicker than Valentino and faster on race tyres than I'd been on qualifiers! I think I've finally got the M1 sorted. And not before time.

I've now made a private $100 bet with Lin Jarvis (a big boss from Yamaha) that I'll win in Portugal. You'll know how I've done by the time this comes out! But I will qualify that by saying this: obviously I won't win it if Vale's right behind me. I have to help the team!

So where does this leave me job-wise? Well, I'm talking with Yamaha. I'm truthful, I haven't done myself any favours with the results, but even Valentino's had problems. It's great to be his team-mate, but sometimes less so, because when things go wrong with him and the bike, you kinda take a back seat, understandably. I would say it's a 95 per cent chance that I'm here next year. We've just got to agree on numbers. To be honest, with Nicky staying at Honda and Stoner with LCR, there is nobody else! But I do think they should keep me. I've got the experience and together we've been working towards my goal, which is to get this bike to work. I wanna build a bike that anybody can ride.

Another reason is that I want to stay on for the new 800cc era. I know, I know, just as I get the 990 figured out, it's all change, but to be honest the overall package won't change much. Suspension settings and stuff will be similar or the same, it will be the centre of gravity that's different and we can sort that. These things will be revving high, but the days of bikes spitting people off are gone, just because the electronics are that much better now. The old 500 days are over, man. The 800s may be more twitchy than the 990s, but those days of the big flicks and highsides are over. I was watching the Faster DVD recently and you forget just how vicious those 500s were. I was either unfortunate or fortunate not to race them! I'm not sure which...

I had the chance of riding for Cagiva in 1993, but I was also being pushed into 500s with Peter Clifford's Red Bull Yamaha team at the end of 1997. I think Regis Laconi and Simon Crafar got the rides. Do I regret not going? Hell no, I wouldn't have won my two World Superbike titles. But do I wish I was on a GP bike at the age of 21 or 22? Hell, yes.

Talking about WSB, I'm pleased for Troy Bayliss to wrap up the title. He's a good guy. Max Biaggi going to WSB will be neat. He could win every race, or he could just piss and moan about the bike and try and change every frickin' thing. The latter option is what most are expecting. I'd like to see him get on the thing and fly, but I don't see anyone beating Troy with the form he's in. It'd take a better bike than the Ducati to do it, not the rider. And people like Noriyuki Haga and Troy Corser, they too need better bikes to beat Bayliss. He had a tough deal in GPs, but his style suits superbikes. I've had to try and change my style to ride these things. Out of all the riders in WSB, the one I think would suit the latest MotoGP machines would be Troy Corser. He's so smooth and his corner speed is good, his style leans more towards GPs. I know he did 500 GPs in 1997, but he didn't get a good shot at it. Thats how it goes sometimes.

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