Colin Edwards Makes CRT Debut at Jerez

11/25/2011 @ 3:46 pm, by Jensen Beeler5 COMMENTS

Likely to be marked as the start of significant chapter in MotoGP history, the claiming rule teams (CRTs) were out in Jerez the past three days testing their MotoGP machinery, which is comprised of production-motorcycle motors with custom-built chassis. While not the first time we’ve seen a CRT bike on the track, the outing was the first time that  a”top-tier” rider was on-board the new racing format motorcycles, as Colin Edwards lead the charge with his BMW/Suter machine with NGM Forward Racing.

Many in the MotoGP paddock have been waiting to cast their verdict on the CRT endeavor, withholding their judgments until a top GP rider took to the helm of a CRT machine and properly put the bike through its paces. With tests earlier in the year showing Mika Kallio on-board the BMW/Suter to be over six seconds off the pace of the 800cc-era machines, the CRT future of MotoGP looked to be in jeopardy. Those lap times improved over the year to be “only” four seconds off that 1,000-era bike pace, showing improvement, yet a gap  to the front-runners.

Now with Edwards finally swinging a leg over the BMW S1000RR-powered Suter prototype, surely more comparisons between the factory prototypes and CRT offerings are to ensue. Posting a best lap time of 1’40.188 at the Spanish GP earlier this year, Edwards was roughly 2.5 seconds off his own pace, finishing the three-day test with a best lap to f 1’42.6. That news seems discouraging on its face, though it should be noted that the team dropped 1.3 seconds between Wednesday and Thursday’s tests.

Edwards also rated the bike at about 65% of its potential, while the Texan’s own fitness was questionable, as Edwards was till recovering from the injuries he sustained at the Malaysian GP. WIth all those caveat, does this week’s test equate to excuses for a lackluster performance, or justify that more leaps and gains will be made before the start of the 2012 MotoGP Championship?

“Overall, it is better than I thought it would be, the potential is there. I think we are at about 65 percent right now,” said NGM Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards. “The chassis is set up, but the main thing is the electronics and getting the whole package to come together. With the electronics, every time we make a little change and make it better, everything just gets a little smoother and easier.”

“The bike reminds me a lot of 2003 when I went to Aprilia,” Edwards continued. “It’s got a screamer engine, lots of torque, somebody built the chassis, someone put an engine it, and it came a long way through the year. It was one of the first bikes with ride by wire and all the electronics. It reminds me a lot of that. But I know what I need, I know what I am looking for, I know what want, I know how to make the bike go faster, so the main thing now is just don’t lose focus and keep going down the right path.”

“I came here and I would have been happy with just yesterday’s times, being injured and all, but I did a ‘42.6 today, which is a little better than a second faster. I’m reasonably happy with that,” finished Edwards.

A second off the Moto2 bikes he was sharing the track with at the Jerez testing sessions, Edwards’ outing on NGM Forward Racing’s BMW/Suter machine is at best a mixed bag of good and bad news. It’ll be interesting to watch over the winter how the CRT effort progresses, not just with the BMW/Suter, but with all the CRT entries. With claiming rule teams seemingly the future of MotoGP, what that future will be now becomes the question on everyone’s mind.

Unofficial Best Lap Times from MotoGP/Moto2 Winter Testing at Jerez:
Randy de Puniet (Aprilia) 1’41”5 (WSBK Bridgestone Tires)
Colin Edwards (Suter-BMW) 1’42″6 (MotoGP)
Scott Redding (Kalex) 1’42″9 (Moto2)
Pol Espargaró (Kalex) 1’43″0 (Moto2)
Tito Rabat (Kalex) 1’43″3 (Moto2)
Iván Silva (FTR-Kawasaki) 1’43″5 (MotoGP)
Mika Kallio (Kalex) 1’43″5 (Moto2)
Bradley Smith (Tech3) 1’43″6 (Moto2)
Gino Rea (Moriwaki) 1’43″8 (Moto2)
Alex De Angelis (Suter) 1’43″9 (Moto2)
Yonny Hernández (FTR-Kawasaki) 1’44″0 (MotoGP)
Yuki Takahashi (Suter) 1’44″2 (Moto2)
Axel Pons (Kalex) 1’44″7 (Moto2)
Toni Elías (Suter) 1’44″7 (Moto2)
Nico Terol (Suter) 1’44″9 (Moto2)
Xavier Simeon (Tech3) 1’45”0 (Moto2)

Source:; Photos: MotoGP

  • MikeD

    God Speed to the Early Adopters and Pioneers. They are going to need it to fight in the same ring as the “Heavy Hitters”.

  • That this ‘kit’ bike is six seconds behnd the factory MGP machnes in its shakedown is not a big surprise. Imagine the shock if it was half a second behind with an injured rider at the helm ! And let’s be honest, BMW is still sorting these things out in WSBK.

    I think that until you see back-channel ‘factory’ CRT bikes, there will be a gap. And I’d be surprised to see any, as the factories would be cutting their own throat vis-a-vis the M1’s and RCV’s. And the HRC CBR kits are not giant-killers, nor does Yamaha sell any ‘lightning-in-a-bottle’ parts for the R1’s. I just don’t see any Ducati / Althea ‘unacknowledged’ factory team situations with the Japanese. Although . . . . now that I think about it, Checa’s bikes from this year would murder the GP11’s ! !

    I really feel for Colin, though. The sad situation with Simoncelli, and this obvious end of his relationship with Yamaha must make these difficult days even for a hard man. My best to him, and here’s to better days ahead.

  • Rob

    Very much a love/hate with these CRTs joining GP. I would love to see more bike on the grid, but I have a feeling this will turn into a ALMS race where there will be CRTs in a pack, and then 5 seconds ahead true GP teams/bikes.

  • Tiago Neves

    To be honest guys i don t tinck this is the end… The realaty its that this bikes can be bad ass!! I love this new Designs of some CRT Bikes…
    And i also beliave in Colin and in Randy de puniet, for me great pilots and its like they said they now what they neeed to be fastest and for sure they will impreve this crt to very competitive times!! For sure will be history if we wach one CRT Bike winning a race but i tinck its not Impossible…

    The realaty its that for exemple WSBk bikes are preety close on times and the CRT Bike have some advanteges in regulations in orther to allow more Power to this engines.. This bike are in Part prototipes at the least the Material on Chassi..

    Prototipe engine or not what its need its Power and control.. Just take a loke at Randy de puniet Bikes it really seams like an evolution off the Aprilia RSV4 and for what Randy says he is only one secund Slower then its last Pramac Ducati Gp11

  • Bob

    Currently, GP tyres and brakes require a certain amount of heat in them to operate at their best performance. If the CRT bikes can’t put enough heat and stress into the tyres and keep the brakes hot enough, lap times will always stay down. They won’t be able to brake as late as they want, therefore corner speeds wil be lower, which means less heat in the tyres, which means less grip, which means less corner speed and less corner exit traction, which means less top speed between corners, which means less need to brake harder before the next turn, which means less heat in the tyres and brakes, and the cycle repeats.

    I’m not hopeful in the least. Part of me is, admittedly, disappointed that the full-on prototype series is going to become a prototype-chassis-only series by 2014. I see myself no longer watching at that point since I’m really into the unobtanium hardware. I watch other series when I an interested in bar banging.

    I also see GP becoming absorbed by WSBK or the other way around. WSBK production based frames already have enough adjustments that there’s not much benefit to having a prototype chassis, other than to make them physically smaller for a 120 lb jockey. No point in keeping a series where the only difference is basically tyres and brake material. But I also see a safety concern when the CRT guys start getting lapped. And they will.

    Best of luck to Colin, really. By I really do hope the CRT concept fails miserably. You just can’t call MotoGP the pinnacle of racing when you aren’t running pinnacle quality hardware.