Winter testing is all about finding, and hopefully increasing, the limits of a motorcycle before the new racing season begins - so how does a MotoGP bike feel when it is being pushed to the edge?
“For us, it's easier to get near to the limit than a normal rider and of course we have lots of laps to practice,” Pramac Ducati's Mika Kallio told Crash.net
. “But how to find exactly the limit of a MotoGP bike is difficult. We can get to 98%, but how to find the last 2% is difficult.
“You always try to get there step-by-step and I think if you have confidence in what the bike is doing, and you trust the bike, then it is easier to find that last 2%.
“If you don't have confidence then you are a little bit scared all the time. That's why last year was really difficult for me, because all the time I knew I needed to push more in some places, but I didn't have the confidence or the right feeling.”
Kallio then explained that, unlike on smaller grand prix machinery, the point at which the bike begins moving is not the maximum performance ceiling.
“You can feel movement from the bike when you are close to the limit, but this MotoGP bike - compared with 250 for example - is moving and sliding all the time anyway. Even when you are slow!” revealed the Finn, a seven-time 125 and five-time 250GP race winner, who goes ice-racing during the winter.
“So when the bike starts moving and sliding you have to then go beyond that point to find the real limit of a MotoGP bike. But how far beyond? That is the difficult part. A lot of it is about experience.
“With the smaller bikes it is simpler because there is less movement as you approach the limit and then you can feel immediately when the bike starts to move. That is when you are on the limit with a 125 or 250.”
Unfortunately, it seems Kallio still has some way to go in terms of understanding the full limits of his new Desmosedici GP10, after concluding the Sepang test in 14th place, just in front of team-mate Aleix Espargaro.
The third and final 2010 pre-season MotoGP test takes place at Qatar from March 18-19.