Colin Edwards leans into a corner at Aragon
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 Sunday, Sept. 19 at the Grand Prix of Aragon at Motorland Aragon (8 a.m. ET, Sept. 19, SPEED).
The colorful Edwards competed 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 Valentino Rossi, Casey Stoner, Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo.
Haven’t talked with you since before Indy. How are you doing?
I’m doing all right, man. Just hanging out, man. Motorhome. We’re in today. We’re in the middle of B.F.E. over here. It took almost three hours to get here from Barcelona airport. Just hanging out.
Have you ever been to this Aragon circuit before? Is it all new to you?
It’s all new to everybody. It’s a brand-new circuit. I think Valentino came here and tested a couple days ago on an R1. But for the rest of us, everybody, it’s brand new.
Have you walked the circuit or rode a bike around it to learn the characteristics?
Yeah, I did two laps today on a bicycle. It’s definitely got some elevation changes and some couple tight corners and straights. It looks pretty fun, to be honest with you. There’s definitely some technical aspects to it. It’s got tons of damn run-off, which sometimes is good, sometimes is bad. Good for safety, but for learning … I generally like to know where I can and can’t go.
Does it remind you of any track you’ve rode before?
Oh, man, just going around it on a bicycle, I can’t say. There’s definitely some elevation changes such as like Laguna or Brno. There’s definitely some elevation, uphill, downhill, but no real long climbs. It’s all just kind of in a short area. You’re going uphill, and the next thing you know, you’re going downhill. It’s pretty cool.
How is the bike running? You had tire problems on Race Day at Indy, but Misano seemed better.
It’s still not the fastest bike out there, but we had it set up pretty good. We started really getting the handle on the setup at Brno. Obviously, Indy was not the best race on the planet for us. Misano was OK. We got out there, but I just couldn’t stay with those guys that were up front. Here there are definitely going to be some long, uphill climbs … Well, not long, but some short uphills that lead on to the straightaways. So I don’t know; we’ll wait and see.
When you come to a new circuit for everyone, can that level the playing field? Or is everyone’s engineering expertise so good that the top riders prevail anyways?
The top guys are still going to be the top guys. Ben (Spies) rode from me from Barcelona to here, so we had three hours of just B.S.-ing in the car. I was thinking the other day, if you could say anybody had a slight advantage right off the bat, it would probably would be Ben for the fact that he’s spent the last year and a half, basically every track he goes to, he’s got his brain set in that mode that he has to learn, has to learn the track. He’s never been to some of these tracks still. The rest of us, we’ve been to all of these tracks. We just show up. You really don’t have to walk around the track or ride around the track before you get on it. You just know it. You know where the brake markers are, whereas his brain is just wired for the moment where it just has to learn everything rapidly. It’s been so long since we’ve had to do that. I would say it seems like a slight advantage at the moment.
Is Ben the fifth alien now? Has he entered that class yet?
I don’t know. That’s hard to say. I would like to say 100 percent, absolutely, yes, but at the moment I don’t think he’s on the equipment at the moment to be able to make that step. I think once he gets in the factory team next year, I think that next step will be there, for sure.
But what he’s doing with what he has is pretty mind-boggling, don’t you think? It seems every week he’s going quicker and quicker, and you know the bike he’s on.
Oh, yeah, absolutely. I say definitely he’s young and hungry, and he’s riding the shit out of it. I think to be classified in that fifth alien group, I mean, he is, he’s riding good. I would like to see him on a bit better bike to really know that he can beat those guys regularly.
Any news or update on what you’re doing next year?
Still not 100 percent, but I think we should figure it out this weekend. Obviously, everybody would like me to stay here. I’d like to stay here. We just got a couple things we’ve got to tidy up. I think we should know something this weekend.
It’s been a tough couple of weeks for everyone in motorcycle racing, especially you. How have you been holding up, and how do you carry on through tough times like this?
I mean, you know, hell, it’s a … (exhale) … shit, dude, it’s just jacked up. They say time heals all wounds, which it does. But at the end of the day, he was just a friend. He wasn’t family, or anything. But going back from early days, I’ve had quite a few guys that passed away doing exactly this. Starting with Larry Schwarzbach back in ’92 and Nagai, my teammate in ’95. Hell, I saw him; I was right behind him when that happened. You got Michael Paquay in, I think, ’98 or ’99, I think, was a teammate of mine at Castrol Honda, passed away at Monza. Kato. I’ve had a few guys I’ve seen or I’ve been close to, and it’s just kind of the business. It doesn’t happen that often. It puts you on the ground and makes you realize that … I mean, hell, I could step out of the bus here and trip and bust my head into the next motorhome, and if I hit it right, lights out, so. Life is life. Sometimes it sucks, but at the end of the day, time’s up, time’s up. Shit, man, I don’t know how else to put it.
The mentality of racers, it’s a risk you accept, and you do it because you love it. Does something like this ever cause you to step back and analyze your commitment to the game, your love for the sport?
I think it’s never affected me to the point to where you step back and go: “Whoa, man, this is so dangerous. This is crazy. I don’t even know why we’re doing this.” You don’t say that. It’s just not your mentality. Hell, for the last 33 years, however long I’ve been riding motorcycles, you know the risk. You don’t ever step back and go: “Wow, this is crazy. Why am I doing this?” You just say, “OK.” Died doing what he loved to do. You can’t ask any more than that. At least the guys that passed away, they didn’t grow old and die from f*cking prostate cancer and some screwed-up shit and suffer. They were doing what they wanted to do. So you just have to look at it that way.