By Peter McLaren
Colin Edwards has explained how he believes it was possible for former seven-times F1 world champion Michael Schumacher to ride a MotoGP bike just five seconds off the Valencia lap record.
Schumacher set his stunning time during the press and guest day immediately after the season-ending grand prix - and despite only limited sportbike experience. The test was also the German legend's first on an 800cc Ducati and just his second ever MotoGP ride.
The former Ferrari ace first sampled MotoGP power during a private test at Mugello in 2005, when he had lapped a much more sedate 15 seconds off the pace on a 990cc Desmosedici, so has the move to 800cc engines and increased reliance on electronics made the new-breed of machines too easy to ride?
Andrea Dovizioso certainly fuelled that debate after his own MotoGP debut at Valencia, by stating that his 250 was harder to control, but Edwards warned that it suddenly gets much harder as you approach the limit.
"These bikes are so advanced now - all you need to do is crank the electronics up to where you can't crash and you can go five seconds off the pace pretty easily. You just get in and nail it!" Edwards told Crash.net
, when asked about Schumacher's lap time.
"But to find that last, four tenths say, you have to back the electronics off and really start to work it. It's like a gamble; play safe with the electronics and you'll be too slow. If everybody had the electronics turned up all the time then we would all be doing the same lap time.
"You have to tailor-make the electronics to suit your style," Colin revealed. "What Valentino [Rossi] uses, I don't use and what I use maybe James [Toseland] doesn't use. Every rider has his own tailor-made electronics for what he likes; how he wants it to spin, how he wants it to move. That's where the last few tenths are."