Monster Yamaha Tech 3 boss Herve Poncharal has said the decision not to offer a new deal to popular American Colin Edwards for 2012 was one the toughest he’s ever had to make.
The 37-year-old left Tech 3 after four years to join the Forward Racing squad where he will ride the new Suter/BMW 1000cc machine next season.
With Yamaha looking to invest in younger talent for the future, Edwards briefly flirted with the idea of a return to World Superbikes with BMW before clinching a deal to remain in MotoGP for a 10th successive campaign next year.
Edwards scored four podiums and one pole position during his career with Tech 3, the last of his top three finishes coming with a fantastic third in a rain-lashed British Grand Prix at Silverstone back in June.
Edwards has been replaced by Italian Andrea Dovizioso who will partner Briton Cal Crutchlow and Poncharal told MCN: “It was a very difficult decision not to offer Colin a new deal. In Misano back in 2010 Colin requested that he have one more year and everybody in Yamaha agreed. Once the 2011 season started we thought it was going to be his last one and then through the season, helped by the good results he was having, it gave him the wish to stay more. He told me this and we were thinking and talking and for me it was not out of the question for us for him to stay. But my team is more like a feeder team for Yamaha and the perfect scenario was like what happened with Ben (Spies), where a young rider can show his potential before moving to the factory team.
"Colin knew it wasn’t going to be easy to stay and I think he is a guy who likes a challenge and he loves racing and developing a bike and for him the CRT project with Forward Racing is a new adventure. For him this challenge it is very exciting and he knows it is the future of MotoGP. But for Tech 3 it is a shame. We knew one day this story would come to and end but he has been the best rider we ever had in the MotoGP class. Not only in terms of the results but the atmosphere he bought to the garage was incredible and he has been a really good team player. The whole team loves him and has been fantastic for us. To turn the Colin Edwards page in our history is difficult, but I am happy he is still going to be in the paddock."