Colin Edwards has had difficulty all season aboard the Suter-BMW CRT machine and is considering drastic changes.
has cast doubt on the future of the Suter-BMW CRT project after revealing that his Forward Racing squad could be poised for a mid-season machinery switch after a disastrous start to 2012. The Texan retired out of last place in the Dutch TT at Assen
having been severely hampered yet again by major issues with a Bosch electronics system.
Edwards had qualified last and was a massive 0.7s behind next best qualifier Ivan Silva in Assen and he was a humbling 4.5s off pole position. The 38-year-old has been continually hampered by malfunctioning and erratic Bosch electronics that make riding the Suter-BMW an experience fraught with uncertainty and danger.
Edwards’ patience at the lack of tangible progress with the bike that runs a Swiss-built frame and tuned BMW S1000RR
motor appears to be wearing thin and we have learned that his Forward Racing squad is contemplating an imminent change of machinery.
No timeline has been set on when Edwards might be on a new bike but we understand Forward Racing has been in talks about a move to the fast improving FTR-Honda used by Gresini rider Michele Pirro. The Gresini CRT project uses a British-built FTR chassis and Ten Kate-tuned Honda CBR1000RR
engine and Pirro has scored five successive top 15 finishes including a best of ninth in Assen. A deal to move to the Aprilia
ART machine has also been mentioned.
Relations with Suter are already likely to be strained after the Forward Racing Moto2 squad featuring Alex de Angelis and Yuki Takahashi dropped the Suter frame for an FTR chassis ahead of last weekend’s Assen race. Speaking to Edwards at Assen he had hinted that a series of disappointing and frustrating results would see the team drop the Suter-BMW at the end of the season.
Edwards is looking for the best possible solution to finish in points range and isn't yet considering giving up on the CRT.
He said: “If somebody was to say we are going to run exactly the same thing as what we have got, I just don’t see how we could unless something magical happens to the bike overnight. And I’m not real sure that is 100% an option. There are a lot of sponsors and a lot of money coming in and when the bike is not running then somebody has got to answer to that. The bike sounds like a fire-breathing dragon. It sounds great but it is not the friendliest thing to ride.”
A machine change though seems inevitable much earlier than anticipated with the double World Superbike champion scoring just one points-scoring finish in 2012 when he was an encouraging 12th in the opening round at Qatar
He has only managed a best of 16th since but he denied putting pressure on Forward Racing management to ditch the Suter-BMW.
Speaking prior to the German GP
, where he finished 12th behind CRT foe Randy de Puniet, Edwards said: “It hasn’t got to the point where I’ve said I’m not going to ride this thing anymore because that is not me. I knew it was going to be a challenge coming here but when you put yourself in the team manager’s position, he is aware of the ability that I have and to go out and qualify last on a track I love like Assen and risking everything, you go why? My view is to go out and ride the s**t out of whatever I’ve got underneath me but that is getting harder. I have nothing confirmed anything for the future. Are we talking about trying (to switch bikes) then sure? But honestly I have no clue if that is going to be tomorrow, three weeks or the end of the year. We have talked about different bikes but I’ve told them I’d take a Vespa at this moment."
Edwards and company rebounded somewhat at Sachsenring, with their first points scoring finish since Qatar. The meddlesome electronics situation found a solution, somewhat, as Edwards did encounter a traction control issue during the opening laps of the 30-lap German GP.