Communication Breakdown
by staff
Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Claiming Rules Teams using the new Magneti Marelli spec electronic control unit had a rough MotoGP test last week at Sepang, as Forward Racing, Avintia and Ioda struggled with teething problems in the new black boxes.

Most observers figured Magneti Marelli just needed more time to program the new ECU with data gathered from rain-delayed two days of CRT testing. But American Colin Edwards II insisted to German media the problems with the new electronics were due to a communication breakdown, not lack of development.

Edwards claimed Magneti Marelli did no programming of the new ECU, simply delivering the boxes to the teams and letting them figure out how to enter reams of data into the unit.

"The Magneti Marelli engineers walk around and answer any questions," Edwards said. "You get just the ECU to complete the software, but then you're on your own. They had come to us and ponder how we get it to work. Apparently they do not program the stuff. That is my impression."

Dodgy electronics were just the start of problems for Edwards. He also suffered from the recurrence of an old neck injury and from excessive chatter on his FTR-Kawasaki.

"The chatter is so powerful that it does not matter whether we make the wheelbase shorter or longer and if we change the spring preload a bit," Edwards said. "We have a fundamental problem. And nobody has a clue how it can be solved. I do not know. Well, we will see."

Edwards ended up 27th overall out of 28 riders at Sepang, limited mightily by the neck injury. Despite the chattering and electronics problems with his FTR-Kawasaki, he still thinks the new bike is better than the diabolical Suter-BMW CRT that frustrated him all of last season at Forward.

"Well, I'm not faster than last year," Edwards said. "But we expect new parts. We have the necessary structure and the right people in the background to come forward. This is most important. Rome was not built in a day."


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