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GP Week : Issue 53
5 MINUTES WITH ... COLIN EDWARDS MotoGP victory has come close, but not quite close enough for the experienced Texan. He spoke to MICHAEL SCOTT Colin Edwards has Texas written all over him, from his outspoken Republican sentiments to the beer in his hand as he relaxes after practice. Twice World Superbike champion, he switched to MotoGP in 2003, and has ridden for Aprilia, Honda and now Yamaha. With three poles, three fastest laps and 10 podiums, he is still trying for that first win after riding for Aprilia, Honda and now Yamaha. GPWEEK: Colin, you’ve ridden so many different bikes. What sort of a relationship do you have with each bike? COLIN EDWARDS: It depends. I do the same (as Rossi): tap it on the tank when I walk in on Wednesday or Thursday – “are you going to be good to me this weekend, honey?” It’s all about putting the pieces together. If you get the setting right then you’re in love with it. If you seem to struggle, then she’s a bitch. Do you have a favourite corner? If there’s one corner in all of racing I look forward to, Turn 1, Australia (Phillip Island). It’s such a balls-out corner. You can make up a lot of time, and you can lose a lot. You have to find the happy medium, and then when you get in traffic it’s a good place for some action. You brake a little to settle it, but once you sit up and get the wind drag, you’re pretty much back on the gas going in. I think you go down two gears, so you’re hauling the mail through there. I’ve always preferred fast corners, anyway. People say with the 800s it’s harder to pass, but you had some good runs through earlier in the year. I think I’ve overtaken more people than anybody in this class. Probably more people than I did in the last three years of grand prix. (laughs) You can pass. A lot of my passing is set-up stuff anyway. I’m not the guy to rush up to somebody and bum-rush him into turn one, outbrake him, feet down … that’s not my style. 1 You seemed to enjoy passing team-mate Toseland, after all the winter talk about the grudge between you. How is that all going? It’s not serious at all. The reality is we were never best of friends. We were acquaintances, on teams together, civil to one another. That was it. We didn’t call one another over the winter, hang out at each others’houses … People seem to think we were best buddies and now we hate each other. The reality is, not much changed. Apart from the passing “hey what’s up, how’re you doing?” That doesn’t happen any more. You were angry because he took your crew chief? As soon as my last year’s crew chief told me, why be pissed off? It’s done. The situation was over. From that point on, at Valencia, I never talked to him, just the suspension guy, and the mapping guy. The next question was: who do you want as your chief. I wanted Guy (Coulon – wild- haired French veteran). I know Guy. He’s a genius, in technical terms. There wasn’t even the question of anybody else. I wanted all the same crew. And they wanted to stay with me. The motivation set in after that. But you still wanted a wall down the pit. I thought it’d be good, not for James’s sake; for the crew chief. With his wee beady eyes staring at me – I thought I could do without that. If he wants to steal my settings, he can come steal the settings behind the wall. (laughs) which he has done. Can you be friends with your team-mate? Have you ever? A few. Valentino, we had a good relationship. Aaron Slight also. Until I took him out, by accident. Twice. And Haga, with Aprilia. Sete as well. I wouldn’t call them over the winter. But you can go out and have a beer and relax. You don’t have to have a game face all the time. You’re 35 now, one of the oldest. When does a rider peak, and are you still getting there? I would say my best season to date was 2002, head to head with Bayliss. I rode some really good races. I was in really good shape and mentally in a good place. Obviously you’re always trying to peak again. You’re always pushing onward. I don’t feel like I’m coming down a mountain. I feel like I’ve gone up it, and I’m still learning and learning. I still feel strong. Bayliss was 39 last year when he won the championship, so … I don’t know. For me, the end is not in sight. With you’re experience, are you safer now? When I was younger, Wayne (Rainey – wheelchair-bound triple 500 champion) had his crash, and some other guys in the 32-33 age bracket also. A lot of people say the older you get the slower your reflexes are. But last year at Jerez in Turn One, when I should have crashed, mine were okay. I used to think that if you do it too long you get over-confident, and something will bite you in the ass. But now I don’t think it’s that either. I think it’s because the 500s were just brutal. It was very difficult to go a couple of races without throwing one down the road. Whereas now … we’ve got a lot of things that help us out a little. The bikes are not as violent as the 500s used to be, and I think it It’s the only car I’ve ever been in where you approach a traffic light and you want it to turn red ...