As we published at the Indianapolis GP this past weekend, Colin Edwards’ time in the Monster Yamaha Tech3 garage seemed to be coming to an end, as the veteran MotoGP racer and former-World Superbike Champion was linked to several other possibilities in WSBK and MotoGP for the 2012 season. Making his thoughts clear, Edwards believes there’s some value to the claiming rule team (CRT) formula, saying ”I think there’ll be tracks where it’s going to surprise some people.”
Finally releasing his plans for the 2012 season, Edwards announced today at the San Marino GP that he will race for the Italian NGM Forward Racing team, on a CRT bike, next season. While the team has been linked to a BMW/Suter motor and chassis, Edwards will use instead an R1 motor with a custom chassis. The preference right now is for Tech3′s Guy Coulon to make a chassis for the R1 motor, as the team did for its own Moto2 effort, but nothing has been finalized with the French MotoGP team.
Talking to our friend David Emmett from MotoMatters, Tech 3 Boss Hervé Poncharal denied that Tech 3 has even explored the idea of a custom chassis for an R1 motor; however, catching Guy Coulon at the Indianapolis GP, the French Crew Chief for Colin Edwards explained to A&R that he had all the technical requirements for such a job already at hand, and just needed to hear from those on the business end of things (presumably Poncharal) to undertake building the project.
When the press conference panel was probed on the details of the CRT entry, Edwards made it clear he would ride with a Yamaha motor, and appealed to Poncharal to have Tech 3 make NGM a custom chassis. “We will be riding a Yamaha engine, for those of you who want to know,” blurted Edwards. “As far as a chassis…Hervé do you want to answer this?”
“We are still weighing out the options,” Edwards continued. “My #1 option would be to have Hervé Poncharal, Guy Coulon, and Tech 3 build a chassis for us, but we still in negotiations with that. But for me, that would be the dream team — to have a Yamaha and a Tech 3 chassis.”
Edwards hedged his confidence about using the R1 motor for his CRT team, confiding that no deal has been finalized with Yamaha, though there are links between NGM Forward Racing and the Yamaha World Superbike effort. “My first contract with Yamaha was 1986, full-factory support, three bikes a year, unlimited parts list…I could have had whatever I wanted,” explained Edwards. “I was 12-years-old at the time and motorcrossing. So, in my entire career I’ve had 16 years I’ve been with Yamaha — road racing: 13 years.”
He added though, “for me it’s natural…I have full support back home in the U.S. — they really are keen to do it. Have I gotten the word, or the go-ahead, that it absolutely is going to happen? No, but it’s natural. It always seems fitting. I’m part of the Yamaha family, I always have been. It’s a natural step that we’re going to do this, so let’s do this on a Yamaha.”
While we’ll have to wait and see how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together for Edwards, NGM Forward Racing, and MotoGP, one thing is for certain: a lot is riding on the success of the CRT program in premier motorcycle class racing. Time will tell how it all pans out.
Photo: © 2011 Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved