Colin Edwards says the last seven rounds of the 2009 MotoGP season, when he struggled with an underpowered 'long-life' engine in his Monster Yamaha, were a frustrating experience - but one that might pay off in 2010.
Prior to the Brno introduction of a new engine-change limit, which will be tightened even further to just six engines for the full 2010 season, Edwards had been ranked between fifth and eleventh in the race top-speed charts, with an average of eighth.
But during the six rounds from Brno to Valencia that Edwards raced in - he was taken out on lap one at Misano - the Texan was ranked just 16th (out of 17 riders) on three occasions, with an average ranking of twelfth.
Team-mate James Toseland shared a similar fate but, with the factory Yamahas of Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo continuing to set competitive top speeds, Edwards felt the satellite-spec engine lost out more than most to meet the new reliability standards.
Or, to use his no-nonsense description, the engine became 'a turd!'
“The new engine is probably the main thing for this year,” said Edwards, speaking exclusively to Crash.net
. “The long-life thing we had last year was a turd! I should have just gone home and had a vacation after Brno. You could see the difference…
“Of course [I spoke to Yamaha about it]. You'd follow Jorge or Valentino at the end of last year and they'd just leave you after two corners and it was like; 'Dude, I know I'm not this slow'. You know what talent level you have.”
Fortunately, Edwards has been delighted - and no doubt relieved - by the strength of Yamaha's 2010 engine, with which the former double World Superbike champion has finished fifth (+1.007sec from Rossi) and fourth (+0.717sec from Rossi) in the two pre-season tests to date.
Indeed, the 36-year-old feels that his efforts with the underpowered bike, for which he was ultimately rewarded with fifth in the final standings as the top satellite rider, could prove to be a blessing in disguise.
“Last year it was ridiculous, but at the end of the day it makes you ride harder,” he said. “We had to ride the dog-balls out of the old bike to make it work and I'm sure that's translated over as a benefit now we have a stronger engine.”
Edwards took his eleventh MotoGP podium by finishing 1.3sec from victory in last year's British Grand Prix - the last round before the engine-change limit came into effect.
The #5 will ride alongside superstar rookie Ben Spies during his third season at Tech 3 Yamaha in 2010.