UPDATED: Forward Racing Boss Denies Reports That Colin Edwards Will Quit Racing After Jerez

The Jerez round of MotoGP could be the very last race for Colin Edwards. 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 is alleged not to have 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 is forced 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.

UPDATE:

To check the veracity of the Italian TV reports, we went to Giovanni Cuzari 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."

The Jerez round of MotoGP could be the very last race for Colin Edwards. 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 is alleged not to have 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.

Comments

so let me get this straight

Forward, the guys who were too cheap to buy a good frame, are upset because edwards isn't matching espargaro? Maybe they haven't been paying attention but NO open rider is anywhere near AE41. Nothing against the other riders but do they really expect Corsi or Petrucci to be running right up there?
I guess its just business, but I will be rooting against Forward the rest of the season if they really are forcing him out... i'll still root for AE41 tho :)
Not to mention, would there even be a Forward racing project without Colin? Maybe I'm giving him too much credit but there were a lot of CRTs trying to make the grid, and Edwards signing up was fast track to getting there!

Total votes: 52

ok

that update makes me feel a little better

Total votes: 42

I'd hate to see....

...Edwards career come to a close ungracefully and mid season. I hope he can keep his head down and push a bit more and cap off a great and long career with dignity and not pushed out.

Total votes: 59

I dont like it

I'm OK with him stopping mid season but Colin should get a chance to have a proper sendoff. Announcing it on a Monday after the race weekend wont allow that.

Total votes: 44

business is business... Colin

business is business... Colin is clearly not getting it done, pay him to sit and bring in a hungry rider. I see no problem with this... Funny thing is, when Colin was winning AMA 250 titles 20+ years ago, I was there those weekend, running AMA Pro-Twins. Hats off to him, he has had a hell of a career, but it is more than "not liking the frame", racers lose something with age, no shame in hanging it up... Better one race too early than one race too late.

Total votes: 57

Is this the price of hanging

Is this the price of hanging on just that little bit too long? The real shame here is if CE retired with dignity at the end of 2013 then a new rider could of been recruited on merit, rather than just grabbing who ever is available at this early point in the season. Agree with R6rider above though. AE41 is head & shoulders above the other open riders, as he was on the ART in 2012 and 2013. A factory ride must happen for him in 2015.

Total votes: 47

I don't get all the love for

I don't get all the love for Aleix. Sure, he's good at putting in a fast lap in practice or qualifying on a weekend. But the race pace and race craft isn't there at this point. Sure, he had a 4th in Qatar - with 6 fallers on factory bikes. 9th in Texas, 15th in Argentina. He did the same last year. Qualify well, look good, then fall back or fall down in the race. All flash, no substance is what I've seen from him so far. He has to consistently finish around the satellite bikes before I'll say he needs a factory ride.

Maybe Colin can get a gig with Michelin to test their 2016 MotoGP tires.

Total votes: 60

over riding, no work to do

I dont have a lap chart infront of mebut the love for AE41 is from the fact for 3 years he's taken a bike that by general standards is out classed by the factory offerings of Honda and Yamaha and he's been able to have good race results and put up fast laps in practice and qualifying.
You see him fade because its one thing to put together 1 fast lap in practice or qualifying by over riding the machine, its another thing to do it for 20 laps. You just cant out ride the bike for that long.
Look at Yamaha and Honda. Honda brought in the seamless gearbox and then practically perfected it, and what did you hear from Yamaha? They needed it to keep up. Not that the lap times were that different, it was the cumulative effect during the entire race that by race end the rider was in a better position physically and on the stopwatch from not having to deal with the power flux mid corner while changing gears.
As far as kicking out Colin, it would be really crappy to see. Results based business or not, he rode very well last year and you signed him do to a job of helping develop this team this year. Without a chassis there isnt anything for Colin to test and develop. Whats going to happen when AE41 bends that last Yamaha 2013 frame (as they've said they will not support you with anymore frames). Are they going to pack up and go home? Whats the plan when the frames run out?
I hope Colin gets to finish the year out on his terms, but even with the retraction of the statement, Im not liking this FTR situation one bit for CEII or AE41...

Total votes: 46

What's your definition of a

What's your definition of a good result? 8th? Because that's the best he did last year. So he beat 4 factory Ducatis and Smith. And I'd be hard pressed to call the Aprilia outclassed by the Ducatis last year. Overall HP yes. Everything else? Not so much. All his other finishes fall in the 9-12 range. He qualifies well then goes backwards. This year is much the same. Mid-pack isn't a good race result.

Total votes: 45

There is none so blind as

There is none so blind as those who will not see.

How many of you noticed the fourth bike in Parc Ferme at the end of the races in 2012 & 2013? That was for the leading CRT finisher.

How many times did you see a rider OTHER than AE41 in Parc Ferme at the end of the race especially in 2013? In 2012 the CRT championship was a close tussle between RdP14 & AE41, in 2013 he dominated his team mate. Mid pack is a brilliant result when you consistently beat all other riders in your class.

Total votes: 41

Here's how I see this panning out

Forward NGM Mobile...........quick tip, Colin Edwards has been racing bikes for over 2 decades, and simply will not give a shit about what you think. And will tell you exactly what he feels, when he feels it, and also tell you to go and fuck yourselves if you start chucking your weight around. You'll also lose a whole lot of fans if you chuck out a legend in the paddock and everywhere else in the bike racing world.

I appreciate it's a results game, but don't be so callous. Mind you, Colin won't give a monkeys. And nor should he.

Total votes: 54

Hear hear

Standing ovation!!!!!!!!!!!

Total votes: 44

Story updated with quotes from Forward boss

The story has been updated with quotes from Giovanni Cuzari. 

Total votes: 49

He's been a consultant since

He's been a consultant since he got off the M1 and has no doubt done a very good job but, is he still quick enough to be useful.?. His teammate being younger/faster/stronger is not an excuse it's just reality... He must surely know he's nowhere near the pace forward need for their, and their customers investment? Their problem is that more folk have put Rossi's name forward for retirement over the last 12 months than Colins. I'll miss him but I won't hold it against Forward.

Total votes: 42

Take a look at the results last year

I just did, and I was surprised at how close CEII was to Aleix in some of the races in the second half of the season (right on his ass in some), on the supposedly inferior FTR Kawasaki. Maybe there is some substance to him holding out for the FTR chassis for this bike.

Total votes: 40

Colin Edwards has always been sensitive to front end feel

I've followed Colin's career and he's always been sensitive to front end feel. When he solves those issues, he's shown speed. I don't know why people see this so differently? Colin has always been the most honest, speak-the-truth rider in any paddock so I don't like people questioning his honesty now. I also recall Colin beating Aleix Espargaro a few times last year once he got his NGM Forward developed to his liking. I'm not about to predict that happening again this year, if and when the new FTR chassis arrives, but Colin is a two-time world champion and won his second on an unbelievable run of wins after he found the front end feel he needed with his 2002 RC-51. Colin has surprised plenty in his career and deserves more respect than many are giving him.

Total votes: 51

yes i would

To me 8th or 9th on a CRT bike is a good result. Thats a top 10 result in the top class of the sport Ducati woes or not, beating factory teams is beating factory teams, on top of beating the rest of the CRT field as DHF pointed out.
Im not saying he deserves a spot in Repsol Honda or Telephonica Movi Star Monster Yamaha (that last one is fun to say), but he's proven he's a good rider, good enough that if he were on the LCR Honda then we may see top 5s or podiums out of him. But thats purely speculation at this point. Its the backup quarterback situation. Looks good when he came in to clean up when the starter came out of the game, now we want him to replace the starter, even though the starter is better, there is the potential that we think the backup can be better...
Ka Boom also makes a great point about front end feel. I remember Colin talking about the different tires he and Rossi used and that he felt the front that Rossi rode on was like a rock and didnt know how he felt any feedback through it. Every rider is different and we've seen other riders go from one machine to another and have better results just from the different feel it provided (look at Moto2 where all the commotion was over which chassis you were on and what riders excelled on one ride and not another).
Is Colin going to get the FTR chassis and suddenly be finishing top 8? No. As much as I would enjoy seeing that, its not in the cards anymore.

Total votes: 34

No need to feel bad for Edwards

Right from the time that Colin Edwards stepped down from the Tech3 Yamaha team, he had been insisting that he would like to ride a CRT with a Yamaha R1 engine. What he got was a Suter BMW that had been tested a few times and abandoned by the Marc VDS team. Then when he got a chassis of his choice, the FTR the engine (Kawasaki) was not his cup of tea. So this time around when he was told that he would get an M1 engine in an FTR chassis, he took the offer presumably to do well and then sign off in style. However, he has been stuck with the M1 that is two years old. His performance or perhaps the lack of it is a little surprising given that he had been riding an M1 for a long time and had been instrumental even in its development while he was in the factory team with Valentino Rossi. I feel his age is now beginning to tell and that is why he is not able to match the speed of Aleix Espargaro. So does he need to step down now? He think he should. Mr. Cuzari while saying that he will leave the decision to Edwards, has also been saying that he will talk to him and then see what Edwards wants to do. The very fact that Cuzari believes that there is a necessity for a chat with Edwards. That seems to me as an attempt to pressure Edwards into leaving.

Even if he has to leave now, really it is not a shame for Edwards because it is he who gave respectability to the CRT class and now the open class. I think he can leave with this head held high, for he is a person who does not seem to have anyone disliking him. In a politically surcharged and viciously competitive paddock that achievement is considerable and surpasses some of the other achievements of other riders. If he has to go, it is better he does now, than hang on till such time that Mr. Cuzari feels compelled to ask him to end his career. There is no shame in leaving now. Its just that for people like me, his presence in the paddock which was somehow a diversion from all the other nonsense, will be missed.

Total votes: 47

Development

Is what CE is cut out to do - he isn't a 'get on and ride it' type like, perhaps AE is. The young bull will always push his luck more than the wise one.
IMO CE is very much like VR. He doesn't do the qualifying blitzkrieg. He tells the engineers what is needed for race-pace and winning , not flying laps.
The big frustration for me here is that there is clearly a finance problem behind this and Forward are not supplying the necessary to get both bikes there. If you cannot afford to develop two bikes you should only run one. Get the bike performing well and attract more sponsorship for the second. In a second-best world at least. Think Stoner and Capirex.
Colin seems to be in a 'sorry mate, we can't afford to do what you want' (my Italian is not so good) position and after a few years (think about it) of trying to develop the bike and not getting what he's asked for he has decided enough is enough.
I have no problem with him doing his best for rest of the season and enjoying the wind down. Second-half of the Open field? OK.
Think of VR's situation last year. The M1 is as much the bike he and Rossi developed as the current BMW M3 is the same as the one from 2 models previously. Light years apart in MGP terms.
It's a shame Yam or VR cannot just slip him a decent piece of alloy on an exchange basis.
They owe him something too.

Total votes: 35

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