Moving from Michelin to Bridgestone tyres and switching crew chiefs over the winter has revitalised Tech 3 Yamaha's Colin Edwards.
He may not yet have the results to back up the raw speed he has shown throughout the winter, but the American is definitely aiming for victories this year, as he told AUTOSPORT and other media after practice at Jerez today.Q. You seem to have really got the measure of this bike at the beginning of the season, it's really clicked?Colin Edwards:
We have got the best bike on the grid. From last year's, they did small little things with the chassis and made it a lot better and it's the best bike out there. To be honest with you there is a little bit of spring stuff here and there, but the bike is really, really good. Electronics, chassis is all in order and I hate to say this, but thanks to Valentino (Rossi) and Jerry Burgess and that crew for spending the year developing it (last year) because the settings are completely different from the Michelin settings. Otherwise we'll probably still be w****** around trying to find the settings if he hadn't done that.Q. So the bike is completely built to the Bridgestones this year?CE:
Yes, compared to what Valentino had to use last year they've more or less built the bike for what it needs.Q. How are you settling in on the Bridgestones?CE:
I've always been a front end guy. If I have forks I can feel and comfortable with and a front tyre I can feel. I'm always fast, so long as I have those two things. Then the rear just follows; we can just make it work. The Bridgestone front is very impressive and our settings are good and once you get those two things in line then I don't need the planets to be in line or the eclipse to come, it's just forks and front tyre.Q. Did you see the picture of Dani Pedrosa's front tyre (from Motegi)?CE:
We started on it at the Qatar test and Malaysia test and we've just changed it a fraction. Millimetres to save tyres to save the rear a little bit more and the front a little bit more. You can really pretty much abuse it completely, abuse the bike at the front and the rear and our tyres never really look bad. VR's did it in Qatar, but Valentino was obviously abusing the s*** out of it.Q. But not to the extent of Dani's tyre in Motegi?CE:
Yeah but that's all about bike setting. If you're wearing out a Bridgestone front, then either you have the wrong front, being a soft one, or there's something fundamentally wrong. I can't wear one out. I can do 50 laps on the damn thing.Q. Pedrosa's lap times were pretty good, but (Toni) Elias says that he is carrying 4kgs of ballast to get some weight on the rear...CE:
The Bridgestones are very different to the Michelin as they ask you to actually stress the tyre more. If you don't stress it enough then you might screw it up. I transfer the weight by throttle, I don't move around so much so I don't stress the tyre as much as I should. We've just had to really work on settings to get it there. So I reckon that Pedrosa's problem was not tyre it was just a setting thing. It was just not right. It's the same with Valentino after Qatar, his front tyre was jacked up after the race - it was a setting thing.Q. So what do you think you are capable of this year?CE:
Well there's 15 races left and there's 15 wins... (laughs). It's definitely possible.Q. You seem much more relaxed.CE:
I got a good team and a good crew chief and a suspension guy who is awesome. Tyres have just eliminated that...(second half of last year), and the morale goes down and people say the tyres are shit and there's always someone on better tyres but now it's great and we now don't have to deal with it. It was kind of our game plan when we started testing, we didn't say, 'let's see how fast the bike can go or let's see how long the Bridgestones go and save the tyre. It was not see if we could run a barn-burner lap.Q. Do you miss the qualifiers?CE:
You know some of that was real sphincter control, but now there is still a little bit of sphincter action, but you are limited. You're still limited. You still have to ride the s*** out of it. It's not just a matter of close your eyes and take out the brain.Q. There has been an hour and a half lost this year in practice time, what do you think of it?CE:
I'm probably the only guy that wants to show up Saturday morning, get a day to kind of get on schedule, then go out Sunday morning do 30 minutes of warm-up, then let's go race! Let's just fly in and race.Q. Do you find the Friday mornings a bit boring now though?CE:
It is a little bit. But you always have stuff to do, interviews and jacking around and stuff. This is what it is.Q. Are you going to push it like you did in qualifying last year?CE:
I have to! It came on a couple of times today and I went: 'F***, here we go again!' Knock on wood, the front-end is so different [this year]. I tried to crash the thing in Japan, I really tried. Corner after corner, but it just stuck.