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GP Week : Issue 47
Edwards linked to WSBK return IS double World Superbike champion Colin Edwards preparing to see out his career back in his old SBK haunts? There were already rumours that Yamaha might switch him with Ben Spies next year. Now he has confirmed new reports in Europe that link the timeless Texan – faster than ever at 35 years old – to a return not only to the production-based series, but also to the Aprilia factory that brought him to MotoGP in 2003. Edwards eventually joined Yamaha as team-mate to Valentino Rossi, but only retained his current satellite- team contract with the Tech 3 team after protracted negotiations last year. Reliably a strong competitor, he has been ten times on the rostrum, but has found victory elusive. Edwards told Britain’sMotor Cycle News that he was indeed in touch with Aprilia, adding: “I’m not sure what my future is in MotoGP, so I’m just looking at all options.” All-new this year, the Aprilia V4 superbike has made an impressive debut in the hands of two ex-GP stars. Max Biaggi has been twice on the rostrum and three more times in the top five so far, while Shinya Nakano has a best of fourth. But it’s only, as he said, “at the starting gate”. Edwards said his first choice would be to stay where he was, with Tech 3 in MotoGP. Teams must cap rider costs – IRTA Chief HERVE Poncharal, president of teams association IRTA and team principal of Yamaha Tech 3, believes that private teams need to reach some agreement to cap payments to riders. “Everyone is trying to cut costs, because this is necessary. This is the only cost that we can control,” said Poncharal. 16 “I believe we should try to find some agreement.” While the salaries of top riders would always fluctuate at the whim of major sponsors, Poncharal said there should be some control applied to the new class of rider created by the change in rules … that class rookies must spend their first year with a private or satellite rather than a factory team. Several big names are in the frame; including US multi- champion and Superbike sensation Ben Spies, and 250 stars Marco Simoncelli and Alvaro Bautista. It is these riders, already commanding good fees, that Poncharal is targeting. Poncharal postulated a situation where his team, plus LCR Honda, Gresini Honda, Team Scot Honda and Pramac Ducati were competing for one rider. “In this case, the fee can go out of control. I think we need to talk together. “But it’s a competitive business,” he added. “I don’t know if this can ever be done.”