Mmmm maybe, but this is a track both me and my mate have done 1000 laps of, we had 3 of our 790s there and his had been slightly tuned in the engine along with us running slightly different preload. His had Bendix m7 pads and stock disks, mine was wave disks and SBS street excel pads, neither of us felt any difference.I would venture to assume that three (3!) lbs of rotating mass off the front wheel is significant enough to affect steering and can be felt by an experienced rider, riding two bikes back to back or on a road he/she is very familiar with.
The steering input points, effort and resulting lines (either under or over steer) are easily felt. I think attributing all of it to a placebo effect may be a mistake.
Riders who ride for a long time can get pretty in tune with the machines they are riding and can easily feel changes to the machine's behavior. It might be intentional mods, as well as things that go wrong, mechanical changes, strange noises, etc. Steering effort change is one of more easily felt, as far as my experience goes.
When making a change, I am always going to a road I am familiar with, riding at a similar pace and trying to feel how what I changed affected the bikes behavior. In most cases I can feel a difference. In some cases more than in others.
I don't think your post came through as being disrespectful. But I also not sure these things are 100% contradicting. You are right to point out that some changes really require pushing a bike closer to its limits in order to actually feel a difference. In addition, it is much more difficult to estimate the effects of multiple changes at once than of a single change at a time. This is why every suspension tuner will tell you to make one change at a time, test/estimate its effect on handling and continue to the next change.Mmmm maybe, but this is a track both me and my mate have done 1000 laps of, we had 3 of our 790s there and his had been slightly tuned in the engine along with us running slightly different preload. His had Bendix m7 pads and stock disks, mine was wave disks and SBS street excel pads, neither of us felt any difference.
I don't doubt Evans has ridden a lot but I'm not exactly a novice with having owned 50+ bikes and done 100+ trackdays and 3 seasons of racing back in the day.
I wasn't intending to be disrespectful of him, I just completely disagree.