Colin Edwards, a Houston native nicknamed “The Texas Tornado,” will offer candid insight about his performance, competitors and life in the exciting world of MotoGP motorcycle racing before every event in 2010 in “Tornado Warning.” It’s the third consecutive season in which Edwards will offer this exclusive insight for www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com.
Two-time World Superbike champion Edwards, 36, is in his eighth year of MotoGP competition, riding this season for Monster Yamaha Tech 3. Edwards and the rest of the MotoGP riders will continue the season July 4 at the Grand Prix of Catalunya (8 a.m. ET, July 4, SPEED).
The colorful Edwards will compete in the third annual Red Bull Indianapolis GP on Aug. 27-29 at IMS along with fellow American MotoGP stars Nicky Hayden and Ben Spies, and MotoGP superstars Casey Stoner, Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo.
It seems like you were happier with the bike at Assen, but the results didn’t show it. Is that accurate?
Yeah, that’s pretty accurate. Assen is always a bit of a strange track. You’ve got guys who have got it going on, guys who don’t have it going on. You get spread out. It’s not one of those tracks where you’ve got a whole lot of battling going on the entire race. I was faster than I was last year, by about two seconds. They changed the track a little bit. But overall, I was faster based on what the leaders were doing. I was closer to the leaders. But instead of being fourth, I was eighth. So I just had a couple more Hondas and a Ducati and stuff up in front of me. I don’t know. I was riding my ass off. I was smelling Nicky’s farts the whole time. I could just kind of hang on with everything I had.
In auto racing, you have a spotter in your ear telling you lap times. You don’t have that in motorcycle racing. How do you know when you’re a bit quicker or slower in a lap? Do you just feel it?
It’s weird, you know. You just have a feel for it. You know, Turn 4, you might have spun up a little bit too much, or Turn 7, you might have got the apex absolutely correct. But generally, you can come off the last corner and pretty much know to the tenth of what lap time you think you’re about to do. You’ll come off that chicane (at Assen), and a lot times be in helmet, and I’ll be like, “OK, that’s probably about a 35.8.” You come across 35.8. Then the next lap you might have a little mistake here, a mistake there, “Ah, it’s a 36.0, I think.” 36.0. You don’t have anybody telling you that, but generally you know what you’re doing.
Does that ability come with experience, or did you have that sense for time when you were 18?
No, it’s just because I’m so damn smart (laughter). No, honestly, it’s something that you develop. When you’re 18, you don’t know. You’re just frickin’ flying by the seat of your pants, trying to make up every half-tenth, tenth or whatever you can make up. I think the older you get, the more experienced you get. And you know, in general. I think the older you get, the more experienced you get. In Malaysia, it’s over a two-minute lap time. But you can pretty much hit it on the head every lap. You know about what you’re going to do.
What’s the next step for the bike? What are going to work on going into Barcelona?
The main thing I want to be able to do is I want to be able to let go. I want to be able to let go of the front brake. That’s generally, in years’ past, from way back, it just seems like the earlier you can let off the brake and roll through the corner with lots of momentum, the faster your lap time is going to be. I just feel like I have to hold on. I’m holding onto the front brake to keep it loaded, to keep it so it will turn in. I feel like that if I let off the front brake, it’s going to pop up and run a bit wide. So that’s the main thing we’ve got to work on and get worked out here at Barcelona.
Barcelona has two long straights. Does that put even more pressure on you guys to fix this turning problem due to the issues you have with power?
We are going to be the slowest bikes. That’s pretty much a given on that front straightaway speed trap. There’s nothing we can do about that. That’s my conversation with Herve (Poncharal) and the big bosses here. I can’t change, after the corner until the entrance to the next corner, I can’t change that speed. It is always going to be the same. The only way I can possibly make up any lap time is being faster in the corners and generating more corner speed. And the more corner speed you try and generate, then the harder you’re asking the chassis to work, and a lot more things are starting to happening. So we’re just trying to figure all that out.
Do you finally feel like you’re in a rhythm this season with this European road trip?
Yeah, I guess. I guess you do. This being the third week in a row we’re coming up on, it definitely feels like we’re in back into the swing of things. With the results that I’ve been having as of lately, it’s so hard to be upset because I feel like I’m riding so good. Results aren’t showing it. But Ben’s doing an absolutely phenomenal job, to get on the podium at Silverstone and even this last weekend, he finished fourth. He’s riding great. Generally when the results get better, then you feel like the season has started. I’m waiting it out at the moment.
I read an interview at Road Racer X about a ranch that you’re building. Tell me about that.
I’ve always wanted to somehow give back, to kids’ schools, to somehow try to teach kids what I know or what I’ve learned. Try to pass on words of wisdom, or whatever that might be. I’ve got some land near where I live. Pretty much just put a whole package thing together. And instead of going corporate and deciding to do it that route, I’m just going to build it all on my own. We’re basically covering a football field with a roof, 30 feet high, a big metal structure, metal roof. I can’t have a bunch of Europeans come over and say, “Sorry, man. We’re rained out. Come back next week.” That’s kind of where our catch-all is. But we’ve got other tracks, too. We’ve got, I don’t know, probably four or five tracks on the property. We’ve got 5 acres of paintball in the back. We’ve got a 500-yard shooting range on the left side. It’s not just going to be kids. It’s going to be adults. We’re going to have all kinds of camps. Adults, under 21s, over 40, military camps for military guys. We’re going to do kids’ camps during the summer. We might even do an all-girls’ camp if they don’t want to come hang out with a bunch of smelly men. I don’t know. We’re open to all kinds of stuff.
When will this be ready?
It’s under construction at the moment. I’d like to do a couple of dry runs, let’s say, October, November, with some local guys, local bike shops and stuff, just to get some feedback. But basically we’re building it out by the shop. It’s going to sleep about 30 people. Our plan is to pick everybody up from the airport. You don’t do the rental car. You don’t do the hotel. You don’t need to worry about food. It’s an all-inclusive package. You sign up, come out to the ranch, and we take care of you. Food, barbecue, campfire stories. You can’t ride motorcycles for three days straight, so we’ve got kind of all these other activities we’ve got planned, as well. Keep it fun.
I know who the chief storyteller is going to be, right?
Oh, yeah. Right. I’ve got a story or two up my sleeve. At the same time, I’m planning on actually three or four good instructors that are down South. Some good guys that I’ve had my eye on that are also good riders, good road racers at the same time. Our camp is basically going to be dirt bikes with slick tires on the back. Kind of what Kenny Roberts kind of come up with years ago. Without that experience, I wouldn’t be where I’m at. I learned a lot of my fundamentals doing just that, learning bike control and feel. And that’s what we’re shooting for.