According to Italian Sky TV, the Jerez round of MotoGP could be the very last race for Colin Edwards, as the Texas Tornado could relinquish his place in MotoGP directly after the Spanish race, to make way for another rider.

NGM Forward team boss Giovanni Cuzari told Italian Sky TV that there would be a meeting on Monday with Edwards to discuss his future with the team. Forward’s sponsors are reportedly not happy with having Aleix Espargaro circulating at the front, while Edwards has been unable to match the pace of his teammate.

Edwards has been unhappy with the Yamaha chassis from the very beginning, and had hoped to receive a chassis from FTR, which Forward had originally intended to race for 2014.

However, Forward has allegedly not paid FTR for the chassis, and the British chassis builder has refused to supply the frames, which are rumored to be now sitting idly in the company’s headquarters in Buckingham.

If Edwards was to step down, then the most likely candidate to replace him is Danilo Petrucci. The young Italian could be moved out of the IODA Racing team to ride the Forward Yamaha.

That would make room for Leon Camier, who originally signed with IODA to contest the 2014 season aboard the ART machine, but that deal fell through when IODA lost sponsorship, and could not afford to run two riders. Moving Petrucci to Forward and slotting Camier into IODA would resolve that situation.

Simone Corsi has also been linked to the ride, as the Forward Moto2 rider is set to test the bike during the MotoGP test on Monday. That, however, is to evaluate a move to MotoGP in 2015, rather than to move him up immediately.

To check the veracity of the Italian TV reports though, we went to Giovanni Cuzari himself, to ask him what he had actually said. Cuzari claimed that Italian TV misinterpreted his words, and Edwards would be free to ride for the rest of his contract.

When asked what he had told Italian television, Cuzari said “I tell them that the next race, starting on Monday, I would like to speak to my rider Colin Edwards, who has a deal with me to the end of the season, and I will 100% respect my deal. But, if he’s uncomfortable to stay like this, he’s able to do what he wants, nothing else.”

“For me, I love Colin Edwards,” Cuzari told us. “I build a lot of things with Colin Edwards. For me, he can stay to the end of the season, I’m only happy. But, if he’s a little bit frustrated to stay like this, because one is on top and the other one is not in the first ten but in the last five position, for me I’m able to respect his decision. That’s it.”

Cuzari said he had not spoken to Edwards about the situation yet, but would speak to him on Monday. “After the race I will speak with my rider, and say, ‘listen, what do you want to do? Do you want to wait for the new chassis or something like that, or would you prefer to make something different?'”

“For me, I am open for discussion, because I know that Colin is open to discussion as well.  Nothing else. The Italian journalists, every time they speak a little bit too much. They interpret a bit too much. But we are a serious team, we have a serious deal with Colin. Colin is my rider since three years, more than 100% our rider.”

Did Cuzari want to see Edwards continue, or retire now, he was asked. “I don’t know, because I’m not on the bike,” Cuzari said. “When I was a rally driver, honestly speaking, and I start to see that I ‘improve my belly’ [put on some weight] and the lap time was a little bit worse, I say to my team, sorry guys, we continue with my team.”

“I stay owner of my team in the rally championship, but I stop racing, because no way, it doesn’t make sense, I was not competitive, you know? And for me, because Colin is a two-time world champion, he is a hero for me, I’m not happy to see my hero like this. This is the truth.”

When asked about the situation with FTR, Cuzari denied that the relationship had broken down. “We still have a relationship with FTR, if they are ready to support us, we are ready to go ahead. Otherwise, fortunately we have our own consultants [to help build a chassis],” Cuzari said.

When asked about allegations that Forward had failed to pay FTR, Cuzari flat out denied it. “Honestly is the opposite. But I don’t want to go into details, because I’m a gentleman.”

Source: OmniCorse; Photo: © 2014 Tony Goldsmith / TGF Photos – All Rights Reserved

This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.

  • jzj

    I was wondering about this. It is humiliating to the rider and unfair to the sponsors to have such disparate performances on the same machine. Inability to adapt to the unwanted chassis is at least some kind of excuse.

    Of course, I really just wish that Edwards would pick it up. Although I follow the sport I don’t pretend to really know what it takes to race, yet it still bewilders me that he can be fully seconds behind his teammate.

    And after that, I want another American rider: sadly, right now I don’t think there is anyone that can do the job. (Lots of hope riding on Cameron Beaubier, but not yet ready — and I don’t even know who might be the next hope after him: there are many good riders, but MotoGP clearly calls for a very high level of performance that I don’t see anyone in AMA leaping up and grabbing.)

  • zedx10

    Big Edwards fan for a long time. Would hate to see him go out like this, but also hate to see him so far back.

    Viva La Tornado!!!

  • Peter Lutz

    Why now? Why not 10 years ago?

  • paulus

    Passively asking for a resignation?
    Leaving lots of ‘it’s up to him’ choices… They don’t want you Mr Edwards.
    Stay out your contract and show them the best you can do.

  • Jw

    This might just be the push he really wants to get out, go home and be a dad and husband.

  • Jw

    He has a lot to look forward to with his family, maybe this is the push he really wants

  • kev_32

    Love Edwards but he should have retired after losing Tech3 ride.

  • L2C

    Colin Edwards contracted with Forward Racing for another season because of the promise of the new FTR chassis that never made it to Forward’s garage in the paddock. Apparently he helped to develop that chassis and in the final handful of races last season, Edwards made dramatic improvement on the FTR Kawasaki package. He was not wrong to expect continued progress this season on what would have been an FTR Yamaha bike.

    It sucks where Edwards is now because the memory of the paddock and sponsors and fans is short. He had some control over his future in MotoGP but the debacle between Forward and FTR took that away from him. And Giovanni Cuzari is right, Edwards is in an embarrassing situation that needs to either be improved or be forgotten about.

    Hopefully Edwards will make the right decision about his future. The Yamaha M1 seems to be outside his ability/desire to deal with properly, so the situation seems to be primarily about what he is more willing to risk. Changing his riding style on the tail end of his career will be difficult next to impossible, but his reputation is still in fine shape. It would be an awful moment to have to end his career so soon when his announcement to retire had everyone looking forward to celebrating his career and saying final farewells in Valencia, instead in a matter of days his state of affairs has changed dramatically. This is delicate situation for the man, to say the least.

    Depressing news.

  • L2C

    (My editing sucks. Old news.)

  • Lewis Dawson

    If it is really true that Giovanni Cuzari had this TV interview *before* his discussion with Edwards, IMO that really sucks. Very bad form. It is a tough situation, and Colin’s lack of speed makes it hard on everyone. However, Cuzari should be held accountable for the dual standards that apply… to do the right thing; and to do the thing right.

    BTW, I doubt that the absence of the FTR chassis is a big factor here. Colin has raced a Yamaha M1 chassis and M1 engine of a number of years, and had his greatest MotoGP success with that combination. From the very beginning I felt it was a stretch to expect the FTR to be as competitive as the M1. I still do, and Yamaha has emphasized that their chassis will not be used next year.

  • meatspin

    he should be faster than he has been if you compared with his teammate who has qualified much higher on the same kit. What floored me was last race in Argentina was when Espargaro decks it, rejoins and then later passes Edwards. Something is going on, as CE is no stranger to Yamaha bikes.