Q&A with Colin Edwards
Colin Edwards is one of Michelin's best MotoGP test rider and crucial contributor to Michelin's R&D programme. So what do he think is the secret to being a good tyre tester?
What does it take to be a good test rider?
Colin Edwards: "First
off, a good rider has to know what he wants. I think that's the important thing because you can get lost. I'm a racer, not an engineer or some suspension guru, so I just translate stuff the best I can to my guys. A lot of testing is just elimination, you're eliminating certain ideas that the team has to get the bike to handle better, to stop better or whatever."
How difficult is it to push a new tyre to the limit?
CE: "For me it's easiest to test tyres, because the tyres are the things touching the ground and you can usually tell within a lap or two if a tyre is better or worse. With some other stuff it's difficult to feel any difference. But, of course, testing tyres isn't at all easy. You're riding 98 or 99 per cent, at 100 per cent some laps, because that's the only way to get accurate information. You can't go out there and run at 90 per cent.
You seem to enjoy testing more than some riders, why?
CE: "A lot of people despise having to ride lap after lap but when I was doing World Superbike I really started buckling down and going to Ladoux (Michelin's Clermont-Ferrand test track) three times a year and burning a couple of thousand laps, I started to see how much we progressed their tyres. To me it feels like we do more testing than racing, but once you see the results it's all worth it. You go to a few different tracks and if something works, you keep it, but often it's not better than your base line, so you eliminate it."
"A lot of time it feels like you're doing lap after lap after lap for nothing but you're always building data. Ninety per cent of testing involves tyres, some of it long-distance stuff when Michelin wants to know if a good tyre will go the distance."
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