Colin Edwards is in talks about a deal to spearhead Ducati’s factory World Superbike effort in 2011.
The popular Texan is seriously contemplating a return to World Superbikes for the first time since he won his second title for Castrol Honda in 2002 in thrilling fashion with a last round success over Troy Bayliss at Imola.
Edwards, who moved to MotoGP with Aprilia in 2003, is close to agreeing terms with Ducati after meetings in Bologna before he headed to the Sachsenring.
Edwards has spoken with Ducati about a World Superbike move several times in the past but has always preferred to remain in MotoGP.
But he has struggled in 2010 and only scored his best result of seventh in the ninth round of the campaign on home soil at Laguna Seca last weekend.
Speaking exclusively to MCN, he said: “I don’t want to finish my career being angry all the time. I want to have some fun and win some races, or at least have the chance to do that. The motivation to finish eighth or sixth doesn’t really interest me.”
Edwards’ dismay at the performance of the 2010 satellite YZR-M1 has prompted his meetings with Ducati and he added: ““We know the bike is not that competitive.
"We’ve always tried to look over it and stay motivated and push, but my motivation has always come fro extracting the most I can out of myself and riding good and feeling good about how I race. I’m riding better than I’ve ever ridden.
"I’ve got the same bike and tyres as last year and I’m going faster. But I’m further down the field and the results aren’t there. “Even when I was on the factory team I didn’t have factory stuff.
"There was still somebody that had better stuff than I did. The way the politics work here sucks at times.”
Edwards said the appeal of stepping back into the WSB arena after nearly a decade away was simply because he wants to fight for race wins.
Edwards has never won a MotoGP race but came closest at Assen in 2006 while riding for the Camel Yamaha squad. He led the race going into the final chicane but crashed less than 200 metres from the finish line while trying to keep compatriot Nicky Hayden at bay.
He said: “The appeal is I can’t go home yet because my wife would probably kick me out. The appeal is to fight for victories again. In MotoGP that is a difficult if not impossible idea with what we have.
"I still feel motivated and honestly if it was to come to fruition I would be pretty excited about it. I don’t know for 100 per cent what I’m doing but I would say it is tilting in that direction.”
Edwards said if he was to carry on racing and move to WSB that his preference was to ride an 1198 for Ducati, despite intense speculation that the Italian brand will scale back its WSB effort in 2011.
As well as increasing its MotoGP entry to six bikes next season, including one for Valentino Rossi, Ducati also has to focus on development of a new 1000cc four-stroke for the premier class in 2012.
He added: “They really helped me out in 2002 because I signed a letter of intent with them at the end of that year.
"Aprilia then stepped up and asked me to ride in MotoGP and I wanted to go to Grand Prix. I asked Ducati if I could get out of it and they didn’t want to hinder me advancing my career.
"They helped me out big time because there was no courts or lawyers and they were super cool about it and I’ve always had a respect for them for that. I would say that if I had a number one option it would be them.”