After battling incoherent electronics on the Suter-BMW for much of last season, Colin Edwards must have hoped that running the standard Magneti Marelli ECU on Forward Racing's 2013 FTR-Kawasakis would be a safe choice.
Unfortunately for the Texan, it seems that the new ECU - compulsory from 2014 - is far from a 'plug-and-play' product, with plenty of installation work still to be done.
After finishing 21st out of 28 riders in last week's second test, Edwards had words of praise for the chassis and engine, but stated electronics were still the big issue.
“Electronics is our biggest issue right now; we are trying to figure out how to get it to be consistent,” said Edwards. “The chassis feels great; we still have a couple things that we can play around with the chassis. The engine feels strong.
“At Jerez we will be working on electronics and a bit with the chassis from the things that we found. The bike is good, we just need to refine a little bit.”
Edwards was 3.820s from the top of the timesheet, compared with 3.208s at last year's second test.
Rookie team-mate Claudio Corti gave a similar assessment of the situation.
“We have had the new electronics software and we still have to adjust to it and that has made us lose a bit of time during the test,” said the Italian, 25th fastest. “I have gained confidence with the bike and with the Bridgestone tyres. Our goal is to fix the problems with the electronics and reduce the gap with the top CRTs.”
Technical director Sergio Verbena believes the team are making tangible progress, but may need to 'modify their strategy'.
“Overall this second test went definitely better than the first. The Electronics were completely new and we had to first learn how the system worked,” he said.
“The first two days were really complicated because it seemed we couldn't find the right path to follow and at the end of the second day we found what seems to be a good electronics setting.
“We still are not using 100% of the bike's potential, we are still learning a lot about new software.
“We are quite close with other CRT's, also in front of some of them. We need to analyze data to be ready for the next Jerez test, which will be very important in order to be ready for the first race.
“At the moment it seems that we need to modify our strategy.”
The fastest rider with the standard ECU at the second test was Avintia's Hector Barbera, also using the FTR-Kawasaki package. Barbera was +2.873s for 18th overall.