By Peter McLaren
Burnett, a former World Superbike podium finisher, was present to support double WSBK champion Toseland during his grand prix debut with Tech 3 Yamaha during testing at Sepang last week.
"The MotoGP bike is much stiffer and much more precise than a Superbike - and if you give people more grip it becomes more difficult," Burnett told Crash.net
. "Riders usually think 'if you give me more grip I'll be able to do a better lap time'. But when you have more grip, you're also on the edge more - and you still have to deliver a lap time consistently in a race.
"That's the learning curve James is on, but the lap times from the [Sepang] race are there for everyone to see. James came within half a second of what Colin [Edwards] did and six tenths of a second of what Valentino [Rossi] did. For me that's great."
Toseland finished the Sepang test last of the ten MotoGP riders present and 2.9secs behind Nicky Hayden, although Hayden set his best time with a qualifying tyre - which pushed the Honda rider 1.2secs clear of second fastest Edwards, Toseland's new team-mate.
"James was really consistent and he did a ten lap, 50% race simulation, and equalled his best lap time during that simulation. That says it all to me," revealed Burnett. "Whenever we get on a lap time, we need to make sure we stay on it and don't go backwards.
"We don't know what the other teams were testing and some of the lap times set were unrealistic, in terms of what is possible consecutively [during a race]," he continued. "I think we were probably around one-second away from what would be a front-running race pace."
Toseland now heads to Jerez in Spain, from November 27-29, for his second MotoGP test and last ride before the new 2008 Yamaha appears on track in January.
"The test at Jerez will be interesting because it's another new track, with different conditions. The approach will be the same though, to try and learn more about the bike and if it rains we'll try to do some wet weather testing as well," said Burnett.
"It's only November 2007 so there's no real point in playing about with the bike too much. It's a question of James getting used to the engine management and the electronics. You've got to get familiar with it.
"I'm sure we'll take it to the next level at Jerez," Burnett concluded.