Edwards says Honda needs more bhp to compete

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Colin Edwards matched world champion Troy Bayliss on time in the first major WSB test of the year, but said his Honda needed more power to have a chance of catching Bayliss’s new Ducati in the heat of competition..

His concerns came at the end of the a three-day test in South Africa when he went head-to-head with world champ Troy Bayliss for the first time on the new V-twin.

The 2000 champion said: " I was behind Bayliss on day two and he just left me behind. We need more engine development and we need more power. It’s as simple as that.

" We knew at the final round in Imola last year that we needed to improve the bike. It was really noticeable that we were down on the Ducatis, and nothing has changed. When it comes to racing you need to be able to at least draft people. I can’t do that to a Ducati on this bike. "

Both riders clocked 1.42.2. Ducati rider Ruben Xaus rode to a best of 1.42.6, which was also under the current lap record of 1.42.93, recorded by Ben Bostrom during last year’s WSB race.

Edwards added: " I knew the chassis would be a hundred times better than last year. It moves, it’s loose, it wiggles and it’s more like a Ducati in that way. "

Now Edwards is happy with the chassis, Honda will be able to concentrate on engine improvements.

In contrast to Edwards, reigning world champion Bayliss was more than happy with the way 2002 Ducati 998R.

He said: " I only spent the first day getting used to the bike again because there have been a few changes to make it feel different since I rode it at Valencia.

" The main changes are with the suspension and obviously the new tyres that Michelin have brought out here for us all to test. It took some time to get used to as I was so rusty

" The bike feels very powerful compared to last year in South Africa. You can’t really compare here with anywhere else in the world because of the way altitude takes the edge off horsepower but the new engine, with a revised bore and stroke gives much higher revs and 186bhp. "

Kyalami is so high above sea-level that the lack of oxygen cuts a bikes power by up to 10 per cent.

MORE ON THIS IN MCN PUBLISHED ON WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 30, 2002

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MCN Staff

By MCN Staff