If you ever have a chance to sit down and have a conversation with Colin Edwards, chances are it won’t be a dull one. The Texan is known for not beating around the bush. Instead his answers are straightforward, to the point and often entertaining. Of late there’s been a lot of conversation about the future of the sport so with Edwards’ decade of experience in the paddock we figured it was time to sit down and have a chat with the candid Texan.
The conversation thus far has centered mostly on the rules, but the bigger question, especially when it comes to Americans and American race fans, has more to do with the riders. With Ben Spies’ retirement announcement last month, the number of Americans in MotoGP has dropped to two: Edwards and Nicky Hayden. So what happens when Edwards and Hayden leave the MotoGP paddock? Will there be any Americans to replace them? Does Edwards have a solution for what it was going to take to get more Americans in the MotoGP series?
“That I don’t know,” he said simply. “I don’t know. And you know, you’re looking at yesterday [the final MotoGP round at Valencia] how we had three Spanish [riders] on the podium, even the Moto2 race and the Moto3 race. It’s like… they’re all Spanish. To get that kind of talent pool to come through the U.S. … I don’t know.
“It would be nice, but right now the AMA [Pro Racing] is… It’s AMA. It’s not really working. I don’t know what’s going on over there. I think if guys want to come and race here they’re going to have to come and do the CEV [Spanish Championship] thing. They’re going to have to come over here and prove themselves. I think coming from the U.S. is just not working like it used to.”
Even though he’s often globe-trotting around the world with the championship’s 18-round season, does Edwards follow the AMA series?
“Not really. A part from following some friends on Twitter,” Edwards said. “But I don’t really… They don’t have it on TV anymore do they? Is it even on TV? I don’t think it’s on. I haven’t seen a race in forever. I haven’t been home forever. If I’m home, I’m watching baseball with my kids usually.”
If he isn’t watching them on TV, Edwards does still keep in touch with a lot of the young American road racers through his Texas Tornado Boot Camp as many of them show up as guest instructors. And come U.S. Grand Prix time, a lot of the foreigners also show up for fun at the camp. So with a lot of the racing talent pool coming through his camp, are there any Americans who stand out as having what it would take to be successful in the MotoGP series?
“I would like to say yeah,” Edwards answered. “I see them at the boot camp… You know everybody at the boot camp comes out and has fun, but obviously you can tell when they’ve got skills immediately. As soon as Jorge [Lorenzo] and [Pol] Espargaro… these guys show up, you’re like okay. It’s pretty easy to tell whose fast, but I mean that’s at boot camp.
“Ricky Cardus is probably our fastest guest instructor that’s ever been there. I mean he mops the floor with Lorenzo. He’s really fast. But he’s not doing so much here in Moto2. When you look at results like that, he’s fast there but here [Moto2]… I don’t know. So it’s easy to say the guy’s got talent when they come through the boot, but you just don’t know. You don’t know what their mental state is when they get on a bike here or if they’re ready.”
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