Tech 3 Yamaha boss Herve Poncharal has played down speculation that he would look at signing reigning American Superbike champion Ben Spies if Colin Edwards departed from the Tech 3 team.
Poncharal is desperate to retain Edwards alongside fellow double World Superbike champion James Toseland in 2009, but the Texan has already held preliminary talks with Kawasaki’s factory squad.
Poncharal hasn’t targeted any potential replacements yet while he tries to secure a deal to retain Edwards, who is currently fifth in the world championship standings.
Poncharal met with Yamaha bosses again last weekend in Mugello to further discuss 2009, but while he confirmed Spies had made contact, no recent talks had taken place.
The Tech 3 Yamaha boss though would consider Spies as a serious option if Edwards moved, he confirmed to MCN.
“If Colin (Edwards) did leave the 250 class has been emptied of its main strengths with Dani (Pedrosa), Casey (Stoner), Andrea (Dovizioso), and Jorge (Lorenzo) all leaving.
“Now I think the 250 class has to rebuild strong talent to provide riders in the future and it will happen. I think Alvaro Bautista is clearly the main guy at the moment that could switch to MotoGP, but from what I have been told he is very much linked with Jorge Martinez.
“Marco Simoncelli is a good prospect but he needs at least one more year. We know that Ben is young and he is fast. I met him last year in Valencia.
“I know he has a big interest to come to MotoGP, ideally with Suzuki, but he is checking other options. One of them could be Ducati and if Colin would leave then Ben could be a candidate for sure and somebody we would look at. But I don’t want to talk to anybody because I want to keep Colin.”
See more on Edwards’ and Spies’ 2009 prospects in tomorrow’s MCN, out Wednesday, June 4, 2008.