Late last season came the announcement that Colin Edwards
had signed-up for what is arguably the toughest job in MotoGP; being team-mate to six-times world champion Valentino Rossi.
Edwards clinched the factory YZR-M1 ride after two often uncomfortable seasons in grand prix - first with Aprilia and then Telefonica Honda - but the downside of the new deal was that he would be a clear 'number two' in a team built almost entirely around Rossi, and would have no machinery difference to hide behind.
However, the 'Tornado' maintains that life in the Italian's shadow isn't as bad as it may appear:
"It's been great, we started out I guess as team-mates - or friends or whatever you want to call it - back in 2000 when we did the Suzuka 8 Hour together," reflected Colin on the Edwards/Rossi partnership. "And then 2001 again, we just kind of carried on that friendship.
"I think, as far as being team-mates, I couldn't think of anybody else in the paddock I'd rather be team-mates with. I mean we get along great; you have got a multi-world champion developing the bike with you. So how could it be bad, that's the question?" he insisted.
As a double World Superbike Champion and an emerging MotoGP contender, Edwards 'enjoys' his fair share of motorcycling superstardom - but being team-mate to a living MotoGP legend has produced some surprising side effects:
"It's probably the only time in my career when I walk out the garage in the back and I hear everybody go "ahhh" (disappointed)!" he smiled. "It's pretty funny..."
But after so many years as the number one star does that sort of thing not bother him?
"Well, I have been doing this (racing at world level) for a long time and it is great, honestly, because I walk out the garage and I can actually go to the motorhome. I don't have to fight and claw my way and run out the backdoor," replied Colin.
"I just cruise right out the front door, wave to people and they just say "alright", so it's all good. I don't have a problem with it. Let all the pressure be on him (Rossi) and I'll go out there and fight and do what I can do."
Working alongside Rossi during pre-season testing and in the opening GPs of 2005 has also given Edwards a unique insight into why the #46 - who hasn't lost a premier-class championship since his rookie 2000 season - is able to be so incredibly successful.