Colin Edwards has confirmed to MCN that he has agreed to join British rider James Toseland in the Tech 3 Yamaha squad for the 2008 MotoGP world championship.
Edwards has held meetings with Yamaha Racing Managing Director Lin Jarvis and Tech 3 boss Herve Poncharal in the Czech Republic this weekend, and he’s verbally agreed an offer to join former Castrol Honda team-mate Toseland next season.
Edwards has been assured he will get the same factory support as he currently receives in the Fiat Yamaha team in what is effectively a loan deal, with Yamaha understood to paying the double World Superbike champion's contract.
Yamaha have moved the Texan to accommodate reigning world 250 champion Jorge Lorenzo as Valentino Rossi’s official factory team-mate.
One thing not clear is whether Edwards and Toseland will be on Michelin or Bridgestone tyres, though it seems most likely that Tech 3 will end its relationship with Dunlop to switch to Michelin.
Speaking to MCN this afternoon, Edwards said final details of his one-year contract were still being finalised, including the make up of his crew, but he had agreed a deal.
“I’m pretty happy with it. Actually I’m excited. We haven’t agreed on all the numbers on that but the idea and the situation, yeah I’ve agreed. Yamaha basically said we’ll take care of you but we want you to ride for Tech 3. That was the scenario and I’m happy with that. I’ve always got on great with Herve and I know most of the guys in the team because I’ve been right next door to them, “said Edwards, who said he is looking forward to a reunion with Toseland, who recently announced he was quitting World Superbikes to join the Tech 3 squad.
“James and I get along great and we’ve been team-mates before. It will be an easier transition for him and I’ll share everything I’ve got with him to help him out."
Edwards said his plan was to finish in his MotoGP career with Yamaha at the end of next season, before returning to America to ride for the Japanese factory in the AMA superbike series for two years.
“That would be my dream scenario. I don’t have any interest to ride for another manufacturer, “he added.
Poncharal confirmed to MCN yesterday that he was closing in on a deal to land Edwards.
“Colin is a really nice guy and he is still a top rider. I think Colin and James would be a strong team. The first time I talked to him was in Assen and I went to his motorhome and we spoke a little bit. He told me his position and he was waiting to know what was Yamaha’s decision. But he was having absolutely no objection to work with us. His desire was to try to remain to stay with Yamaha. Since then we spoke briefly in Laguna Seca and we exchanged a few text messages during the summer. I’m pretty sure Yamaha offered him a seat in our team but I have to wait until I’m told. Once we will know Yamaha is willing to do that I have to know what Colin thinks and then see how it can be done.”
More reaction from Edwards in Wednesday’s (August 22) issue of MCN.