Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Colin Edwards’ season has been an impressive one to date, with the Texan close to equalling his second-best championship finish as the final round of the 2009 season approaches at Valencia.
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Locked in a battle for fifth spot with Andrea Dovizioso, whom he finished second behind at Donington this year, Edwards could match his 2004 championship finish with the right result on November 8th.
This year’s campaign is one the 35 year-old feels has been a consistent one, with six top-five finishes on his satellite YZR-M1 paving the way for a potentially similar placement in the overall standings.
“I’d say the 2009 season has gone on a pretty even keel for me,” said Edwards. “We’ve made a couple of mistakes, I think in Japan we had an electrical issue going on. The rain that happened at Donington was kind of a spike. Everything else I think has been pretty even; I seem to have qualified fifth and finished the race in fifth lots! The four guys out front at the moment are on another planet. But we’re still working and are trying to keep up with them.”
He continued, “Donington was actually one of those races you wish you don’t ever have to race, because it was raining basically the whole time and we were on dry tyres. We changed tyres right on the grid for a soft front and soft rear that I hadn’t used all weekend. We also made changes to the suspension of the bike on the grid, but it’s a bike we hadn’t run all weekend, so it was kind of a case of throw the dice and see what happens. Anyway, I got a good feel for the bike and it was close. Dovizioso was just a little bit out there in front of me and a couple more laps and I might have had it.”
Edwards admitted he had anticipated more podiums this year than the single one he has so far enjoyed at Donington, but believes the introduction of Bridgestone as sole tyre manufacturer has helped increase the competition between riders.
“The one time on the podium this year is not enough,” he said. “Everything has been a little bit more evened out I think than in years past. With two tyre manufacturers one tyre had an advantage at one track, and another tyre had an advantage at another track. Now everybody’s on an equal footing and it’s pretty much been proven. You’ve got the four guys out front that seem to dominate, and it’s hard, but it’s definitely evened out the playing field a little bit.”
Turning his focus to the 2010 season, for which Edwards has signed a further one-year contract with Tech 3, the American explained his decision to renew and also his excitement at working with incoming countryman Ben Spies.
“With Herve Poncharal (Team Manager) and the team, and Guy Coulon (Chief Mechanic) especially, we match,” he said. “I think that’s an important thing. If you don’t match then there’s no point being together. It’s an easy team, they’re great and are very organised and Yamaha work very closely with them giving them as much as they can. So it all works out well and I’m more than happy to stay with them.”
“I think Ben Spies is going to be good – he’s obviously got a lot of talent. You come over and you’re hot. You’ve got a guy that’s accustomed to winning and fighting for the win all the time, then you’re going to make him go on a bike that under normal circumstances is not going to be as fast as the factory bikes. But next year it might be different with the engine rules, maybe all the engines will be the same, I have no idea. But he’ll be fast, he’ll be good and I’m excited at the prospect of working with him.”
Finally, looking forward to Valencia, Edwards commented, “It’s like a party, the last stop of the circus. Everybody’s ready to go home and get some rest and relaxation but at the same time we still have a job to do. I’m excited about Valencia; Ben’s going to do a wildcard ride there so that’ll be interesting and it’ll be James’ (Toseland) last race. He goes well at that track, and the Yamaha works well there so I think it’ll be a good weekend.”
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