Announcing his decision during the pre-event press conference for the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas, Colin Edwards told the assembled press that 2014 would be the Texan’s last season racing a motorcycle.
Citing a lack of improvement on his performance in pre-season testing and at the Qatar GP, Edwards decision perhaps answers the lingering question in the paddock of when the American rider would hang-up his spurs after an illustrious career in AMA, WSBK and MotoGP.
Talking about his inability to come to terms with the Forward Yamaha, which Aleix Espargaro was able to take to the front of the pack in Qatar, Edwards was at a loss when it came to understanding the Open Class machine and his lack of results.
Saying that the prospect, or lack there of, regarding a chassis from FTR did not factor into his decision, Edwards also cited his desire to spend more time with wife and kids, all of whom were in attendance at the press conference.
“Pre-season was a little tough, testing was a little tough. I wasn’t really getting the results that I wanted, and I realized I had to really change my body, my style,” said Edwards about when he came to the decisions to retire. “Trying to do that was…I was like man I don’t know if I can do this!”
Saying that the decision to retire has been on Texan’s mind for the past month, Edwards added that “My wife hadn’t asked me [about retiring] for a couple months, we had talked a little bit about it, and then finally last week she’s like ‘are you going to retire on Thursday?’ and I said ‘yes’ and she said ‘shit, I didn’t want to ask!’ because…my whole life has been racing motorcycles.”
“I know it’s the right decision for myself, and for my family…and I’ve got a next stage to my career, and I need to figure out what that is,” said Edwards. “The Boot Camp is a business, it would pay the bills, but at the same time, the Boot Camp survives because I’m here [in MotoGP].”
“It’ll be alright, but I’m looking for something else to do. If I’m sitting at home 365 days a year, my wife would kill me. So I have to come up with something to do. There are a couple teams out there that I have hinted around being involved in, and obvious media stuff and TV stuff…this is why we’re at the second race of the season, I’ve got all year to figure that out.”
Sitting next to Edwards during his announcement, Valentino Rossi was the first MotoGP rider to comment on the Texan’s retirement, which was fitting because of the two riders’ close relationship.
“I am very, very sad about the news because Colin is one of my best friends in the paddock and between all the riders,” explained Valentino Rossi. “We shared the bike together in the [Suzuka] 8hrs in 2001, also in 2000, and I think this is the best memory we have together because we won.”
“And also we were teammates for a long, long time in a great moment of my career, and a great season for me with the Yamaha. Always we stay together in the box, especially we enjoy a lot, and Colin would come to Tavullia with the motocross bike,” added Rossi. “I am sad because he is a great guy, and a great rider.”
Breaking the somber mood in the room, Marc Marquez added his own thoughts to Edwards’ retirement announcement.
“I hope that mine will be in many years, but when you see the retirement of a rider, you are a little bit sad of course. But anyway Colin, he should be proud of his career,” said Marquez.
“He started his career in the World Championship when I was two-years-old, so that is what I can say of him,” Marquez added with a smile, which caused great laughter from Edwards and the rest of the room.
The Texas Tornado will surely be missed in the MotoGP paddock, as was seen by the standing ovation he received after his announcement and the kind words from his friends and colleagues.
Photos: © 2014 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved