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GP Week : Issue 6
5 Minutes with ... COLIN EDWARDS GPWeek: Colin, you’ve been waiting for the pneumatic-valve engine, and now it’s here. What’s it like? Colin Edwards: The new engine is phenomenal. It’s so good and I’m so happy. With the old engine when you went from third through to sixth it didn’t really go anywhere, whereas now every time you shift a gear it feels like it’s building more steam. I got behind Valentino on the first day, and for the first time I can remember I was able to stick with him on the straight. Normally he’d just get smaller as he disappeared into the distance. Big thanks to Yamaha. What sort of difference will it make in the race? I’ve gone for a bit of a different tactic with Michelin this weekend – for outright traction, rather than momentum to carry lots of corner speed. I’m not so worried about being the fastest guy mid-corner, because it was no good when somebody in front of me was acting like a roadblock. Now I’ve concentrated on getting the power to the ground on the exit, to use that extra performance from the motor. With your riding style, does the character of the 880s suit you better than the 990s? I’d say yeah. I don’t know why, but I think … Is it because it because you’re the Smooth Guy? Probably. You know me … my whole career, the smoother I am the faster I go. So maybe that suits me. How much do the electronics play in that? I think the full beneficiaries of the electronics are the young kids that are coming up. They’re gonna get on the bike, and instantly … that 18 to 23 range is where you’re learning. After 25 or 26 you’ve kinda learned all your tricks. But you have to learn them again. Like when you went to Aprilia. That’s what you call adapting. To learn – that’s something different. After 26 or 27, you’re just adapting to a situation. But to learn it at a young age, and that’s all you know, that’s even better. The kids are gonna get it best. You’re fresh from a couple of years as Rossi’s team-mate, when he was the big star. How was that? It was always insane … like, I’d walk out the back of his truck and there’d be hundreds of people, and they’d all go … “Oooh”, then they’d see it was me and not him, and they’d all go “aaaah” (sounding disappointed). By then, I’m already in the garage. There’s a clip of that on You-tube somewhere! ... I heard that you nicknamed Rossi ‘The Goat’ – for Greatest Of All Time. Is that true? I would in a heartbeat. Not that I nicknamed him that – I might have said that to him – but for me he is. Look at Kenny Roberts, or look at Barry Sheene, look at Mike Hailwood and Giacomo Agostini – some of those guys … but there’s always the question of what competition they had, and what they were on. I’ve ridden the same bike Rossi’s ridden. I’ve been on the same shit he’s been on, and he’s won races that I thought were just absolutely freakin’ impossible. In this day and age, to do what he’s done – yeah I’d say he’s the greatest of all time. I’d say that for sure. All the same, is it good to be out of his shadow? Yeah, y’know, it is. It’s good to be over in a team that you know all the focus is … on both of us. Me and James (Toseland) both. There’s no all me or all James. It’s pretty even. It’s good. There’s something about it that seems to have rejuvenated you. All it is is bike, tyres, and effort. When you see a company like Michelin and a company like Yamaha working with you and for you, and putting lots of effort in, and what you say means something, then it’s easy to stay motivated. You’re in it. Maybe that’s where the factory team isn’t the same. I was always wanting something and I was never getting exactly what I wanted. We were getting what Valentino wanted. Sometimes we would have similar settings, but the tyre situation … Rossi always had to have his developed tyres. There was always something there that was a pain in the arse. And now … it’s easy. There’s the old saying: it’s easy when it’s easy. Talking of rejuvenation, are you ever going to grow up? Probably not. My wife is still waiting. Nowadays I look forward to hanging out with kids and my wife, but that hasn’t changed anything. You put your helmet on and tuck your visor down … I don’t care if the guy next to me is 18, I still want to kick his ass. It’s what you do! Colin Edwards is riding like a man reborn in 2008. Bounced from the factory Yamaha team to the satellite squad, Edwards is qualifying fast and racing hard. Will this be the year he gets his long-awaited first GP win? He spoke to MICHAEL SCOTT 14