Colin Edwards Goes Moto2

Henny Ray Abrams | November 8, 2010

VALENCIA, SPAIN, NOV 8 – The last time Colin Edwards remembers riding a 600 was in the Supersport race at Daytona International Speedway in 1994. He finished ninth on a Yamaha. Fast forward 16-plus years and Edwards was back at the controls of another 600, this one the Honda-powered Tech 3 Moto2 machine of his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 junior team.Edwards was asked by the team to use his considerable technical expertise to sort out a baseline for the team’s homegrown Moto2 bike. The team is one of the few which builds its own chassis, which means only the team’s two riders assist in the development. Tech 3 had limited results this year, with Yukio Takahashi winning in Barcelona, while Raffaele de Rosa was less successful. With Edwards’ Monday free-he’ll test the 2011 Yamaha YZF-M1 on Tuesday and Wednesday-and the team having signed two new riders, Bradley Smith and Mike Di Meglio, the team called on the Texan to get them off to a quick start.”All I was doing was really helping them get in the realm of which springs, how the thing should be sprung, that’s the kind of information where they think they have the idea,” Edwards said. “But until they get the input from myself, and Bradley being new from 125’s. Di Meglio didn’t get along too well with the Moto2 bike this year. So I just think they wanted to get some information from someone they could trust.”The thing is, the whole physics of it are completely different,” he said. “You get in, you’re on the gas so early, you’re turning so much so early because there’s no power to get you in trouble. Whereas my ass is saying ‘I need more throttle, ‘and my brain is like, ‘I normally don’t open it that quick.’ So it’s just kind of a fight going in there, inner turmoil.”Edwards had to re-think the way he rides a motorcycle. On the 600, the back torque produced by closing the throttle feels like “somebody’s friggin’ pulling you from behind. And that, in turn, with weighting the front, creates a lot of chatter, generally speaking. And I don’t ride like this, but I figured it out. The amount of time it takes to release the front brake and pick up the throttle; if you can shorten that to almost nothing. So as soon as you release the front brake just pick it up. So you might still be in the entry of the corner, but that releases all that chatter tension and then it’s just smooth after that.”I don’t ride like that. You’d have to completely re-adjust your style if you ride a Superbike or grand prix bike; we generally don’t ride it like that. We just messed around with some spring getting it to turn a little bit better and not be so harsh on the chatter, a little more forgiving. And from that point…I mean, I didn’t set the world on fire. We did 38-soemthing. I didn’t go out there to set the world on fire. We went out there to get some information. We did 45-50 laps.”In fact Edwards did 54 laps before handing the bike off to Smith. His best lap was an unofficial 1:38.70, which was identical to Smith’s time. Di Meglio did a slightly faster 1:38.30.Edwards liked the Dunlop tires-they’re identical to the tires used in AMA Superbike and much better than the Dunlops of the mid-90’s-but not the clutch. And he wasn’t surprised by how little power the bike produced.”No, I expected it to be slow,” he said. “After you ride Superbikes and MotoGP bikes, you have a hard time knowing what gear you’re in. Just because, I don’t know this track, I’ve never ridden this track on this bike. You could be in fourth gear, you could be in second. There’s just no power anywhere. Once you get a gear pattern changed, up here, down there, it’s fine. It’s just the same. There’s no real torque jump, horsepower, it’s just the same power throughout.”

Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.