Colin Edwards insists he’s not been put off riding for a new private team in MotoGP after confirming to MCN he could ride a highly-tuned BMW S1000RR-powered machine in 2012.
MCN has learned Edwards has been locked in negotiations with the Forward Racing squad, which plans to move to MotoGP from Moto2 in 2012 using a BMW S1000RR engine in a Swiss built Suter chassis.
And the Texan says he’s not been discouraged by the lap times posted by the Suter/BMW in testing so far.
Scott Redding’s Marc VDS Racing squad has been leading development of the new project, but in Mugello last month Mika Kallio was more than six seconds of the pace.
The Finnish rider was back on track earlier this month testing at the Brno circuit and his lap times were just shy of four seconds behind Casey Stoner’s pace on the new 1000cc Honda RC213V machine.
But Edwards, who has also been talking with the BMW World Superbike squad, told MCN: "Unless you’re on a top factory bike in MotoGP then it is an uphill battle anyway. The appeal is the team seem like they have got their s**t together and they are motivated. Working with Suter would also be pretty interesting. I’ve never worked with him directly but I think with the ability to work and develop new stuff is pretty exciting. To develop stuff like stiffness and geometry is what I like to do. There will be some tracks where you’ll be a lot closer on a bike like that. We’re on an 800 right now and on some tracks we can’t use all the power."
Edwards could make a formal announcement about his 2012 plans in Indianapolis this weekend, but Yamaha and Tech 3 have said the door isn't completely closed on a new deal for the 37-year-old.
His current Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team boss Herve Poncharal hasn’t ruled out offering him a new deal, despite some senior Yamaha management expressing a desire for Edwards to retire at the end of 2011.
Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis said it was time for Edwards to step aside to give the Japanese factory the chance to blood younger talent for the future.
But Poncharal said the double World Superbike champion was still a contender to partner Cal Crutchlow, with Eugene Laverty, Bradley Smith and Andrea Iannone in the frame.
Poncharal told MCN: "I believed that this season was going to be Colin’s last year and that was his wish but because the results are still good and he enjoys being in the team, there is now a request from Colin to think about one more year. I don’t want to say it was a shock but I will have some more talks with Colin in Indianapolis because Yamaha US plays a big part in supporting him and they would really like to keep him as a rider and when he retires as an ambassador."