Edwards: "Laguna is the Hollywood of motorcycle racing"
Yamaha's Colin Edwards is all set for his first ever home Grand Prix this weekend at Laguna Seca. After a steady race which saw him taking third place ten days ago at Assen, the ‘Texas Tornado' will again be seeking that elusive first win and he couldn't have hoped for a better setting than the Californian track.
Q: How do you think the Yamaha will work at Laguna?
"I think the Yamaha is going to work really well at Laguna, I can't wait to get there. Horsepower is not as important there as at some other tracks that we go to, and I think it will favour our bike. I think it will be difficult in some areas and it's going to be a challenge to get the set-up perfect, but I think that we will be in a good position. It's a very technical track and success is going to depend on getting the setting, suspension and balance right."
Q: How do you feel about returning to Laguna after so long?
"I can't wait! I've raced there many times on a Superbike and in my opinion Laguna is the ‘Hollywood' of motorcycle racing. It's in California, it has good people, food and a great atmosphere, and the place is just fantastic. Grand Prix racing has been missed for a long time there and it's about time we returned! Yamaha has made a big effort to get the series back over to the US and I couldn't be more excited to be going back there, especially on a MotoGP bike."
Q: Is it going to be extra special for you to race there on a MotoGP bike?
"Any race at Laguna is special for me, even when I rode 250cc back in '92 it was fun. However with all the media, press and VIPs coming to this race, I think it's going to be something really amazing. I think the Americans, and Laguna, are going to love the ‘MotoGP' show and I am really excited about racing in front of my home fans after such a long time."
Q: Do you think you are going to have an advantage over the other riders because you know the track so well?
"I think for sure the Americans who've ridden there in the past will have an advantage, especially at the start. It's a difficult track, it has the Corkscrew at Turn Six, a little ‘jump' on the back straight and Turn One; they're the most difficult parts. There are some special lines and, like any track, it takes experience to get to know it. There are some bumps and secret lines that you only get to know from riding around there, so I think, and hope, that I will have a bit of an advantage for once!"
Q: What kind of result are you hoping for?
"I want to win! I am feeling really strong after Assen and I always perform better under a bit of pressure. I'll certainly be under pressure at Laguna – home race, friends and family watching and all my native fans cheering me on. I am looking forward to rising to the challenge!"
Q: Laguna Seca is said to be a difficult, technical course. Why do you think you race well at Laguna Seca?
"Mostly because I've been racing there for so long – I know it like the back of my hand and I've grown up racing on it right from the start of my career. It's a home track for me. It is difficult and technical but I understand it. It's not really a horsepower track and it really helps to know the best lines through the corners. It's always a boost to race in front of the home fans too."
Q: What is the difference between the track surfaces of the GP courses in Europe and the track surface at Laguna Seca? Are there any difference in the degree of the turns and their banking?
"It's true that the surface at Laguna has a reputation for being quite tricky. However, at this time of year the weather is usually pretty good and I think it won't matter how abrasive it is, as long as we can get temperature. If we can get high enough temperatures to make the tyres work, then we'll be fine. Anyway, we deal all year round with different track surfaces – places like Qatar, which is as smooth as silk, and places like Estoril, which has a bit more force! I don't think it will be an issue if the weather's good! Of course some of the turns at Laguna are quite difficult but most tracks have some areas that are harder than others, with turns that are more banked than others. As I said, we're so used to totally different tracks from one week to the next that I think we'll manage okay!"
Q: What are the best passing points and the points that you can best use to your advantage?
"The best passing points are all on the brakes: at turn 2, the corkscrew and at the last corner. The braking points at these corners are all the best places for passing and I hope I can use them all to my advantage!"
Q: Is there a trick to ride the corkscrew well?
"There is, but I am not going to share it! It took me a while to learn and I am not going to give away my secret I'm afraid!"
Q: If you were a spectator at Laguna Seca, which turn would you watch from?
"Definitely from the hill between the corkscrew and turn ten, it's the best place to see all the excitement!"