Colin Edwards (right) has announced he will ride for the Forward Racing team in 2012 aboard 1000cc private MotoGP bike.
has confirmed he will ride for the Forward Racing squad on a new 1000cc private MotoGP machine in 2012. The experienced Texan will join the Italian-based squad having not been offered a new deal to stay with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team next season.
Edwards has been with Herve Poncharal’s French-based squad since 2008 but Yamaha
has been pushing for a younger teammate to partner British rider Cal Crutchlow
. Edwards will be 38 when the 2012 world championship kicks off and although he is still one of the fastest riders on the grid, Yamaha wants to blood younger talent to develop for a potential factory ride in the future.
Although nothing has been officially confirmed about the bike Edwards will ride next season, he is trying to persuade Yamaha to lease the team R1 engines, though he said that move had nothing to do with the Japanese factory withdrawing from World Superbikes.
Edwards also revealed that he wants his Tech 3 Team crew chief Guy Coulon to build the frame for the new bike during a special presentation by Forward Racing in the Misano paddock tonight.
Edwards said: “We will be riding a Yamaha engine and as far as the chassis goes we are still weighing up the options but my number one option would be to have Tech 3 build a chassis for us. We are still in negotiations about that. But the dream team would be a Yamaha engine and a Tech 3 chassis.”
Colin Edwards: “We will be riding a Yamaha engine and as far as the chassis goes we are still weighing up the options but my number one choice is to have Tech 3 build a chassis for us."
Edwards said he was hoping to use his vast experience and renowned skills as a development rider to make one of the privateer 1000cc teams competitive and he added: “This is the future of motorsport where you take an engine and put in a chassis and that’s the way we’re going. I’ve always been a good test rider and I’ve worked for many years testing and developing bikes and I felt this was my next challenge and I’m happy to do that and show this new concept works. As far as competing next year for a victory, maybe this is not 100% possible. The whole goal is to build a good foundation for CRT and this team in the future. We are the first ones to come out and say we are doing this and having a vision for what racing is going to be all about in the future.”
The list of candidates to replace the double World Superbike
champion is an extensive one. British rider Bradley Smith has been offered the ride but we understand he is now swaying more to remaining in the Moto2 class next season. Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso has emerged as a strong contender with his future at Honda looking uncertain while current factory Suzuki rider Alvaro Bautista, Randy de Puniet and Andrea Iannone have all talked to Poncharal.
A decision on Crutchlow’s team-mate is expected to be made at the forthcoming Motorland Aragon race in Spain.