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Colin Edwards - Indy Q&A: Part 2

5 September 2008

The following is part two of a extensive teleconference with Tech 3 Yamaha's Colin Edwards, in which he looks ahead to next weekend's inaugural Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix, whilst also answering questions on former team-mate Valentino Rossi and Honda's Dani Pedrosa.

The teleconference concludes with a question on whether Edwards, a double World Superbike champion, would consider returning to WSBK...


Q:
Is it a myth that if you follow Valentino Rossi around on one of his hot laps, you can actually get a good time or pretty close to what he does? Obviously, we've had Capirossi doing the same thing on the Suzuki and getting a decent time, but have you ever found that if you can follow closely in his tracks, you could pick up pretty quickly from him?

Colin Edwards:
Well, you know, you can say Valentino all day long, but I think if anybody is in front of you, at the end of the day, they're in front of you if they're a second in front of you or a half-second in front of you. And you get a little bit of, let's say, red mist or whatever it might be, and you put your head down and you use them as a benchmark. If it be Valentino or if it be Stoner or whoever it is, you're using them as a benchmark and you're just trying to catch them all. And you can do a good lap, you know. A lot of people can do a lot better lap when they're following somebody.

Q:
That's fantastic. Having been one of his team-mates, as well, you seem to be the only one that I have ever seen, how can I say, got on very well with Valentino to the point this year with Jorge Lorenzo, he doesn't seem to talk very much. With other team-mates in the past he wasn't really overly friendly, but with you he always seemed to be happy and jovial and congratulating each other. Is he really as friendly with other people as what he appears to be on television?

Colin Edwards:
Yes. He is awesome, man. To be honest, Valentino is - I think why we get along so good is because we're very much the same as far as our personal life. We like to have fun, go out. He hangs out with his family, I hang out with my family, have a few beers, a few laughs, and that's what we do. We're not eat, sleep, breathe motorcycles 24 hours a day. We do actually have a life, and I think that's probably why we get along so well.

Q:
Hey, Colin, thanks for spending some time with us this morning. I was just curious, why do you think it is that Supercross fill stadiums with 60,000 people? Why is it that it seems like Supercross is more popular in this country than road racing?

Colin Edwards:
Man, I could give you a very honest answer, but it's not a real good answer. I mean, I think - OK, part of it is, like I said, whenever we grow up at a young age, if we get a motorcycle, the first bike we get is probably a dirt bike. So I think anybody that's ridden motorcycles in their lives, they probably started on a dirt bike at some friend's house or out at the (inaudible) or wherever it might be. But at the end of the day, you know, Americans, we enjoy this go sit in one place where we can drink our beer and get our hot dog and see all the action. That is how we were brought up, this is what is entertaining to us. Whereas, you know, Moto Grand Prix, unless you walk 3, 4 miles a day, you're not going to see much, and that's – you know, they've got beer stands all over the track. But at the end of the day you've got to do some walking to see all the action.

Q:
Of course, with Indy, that might be a little different, won't it?

Colin Edwards:
Yeah, Indy will definitely be different. You've got obviously all the stands; it's more like a stadium-type race. You sit in the main grandstands, and you can see just about everything. Nowadays with the big-screen TVs, it makes it easy. You know, you sit there and see what you can what's in front of you and then you check out the TV if you can't see it.

Q:
Then you go for a beer.

Colin Edwards:
Uh-huh, exactly.

Q:
Do you still do any dirt riding?

Colin Edwards:
I haven't ridden a dirt bike in two years. I've got a hankering to get back on one. My kid is just 2 1/2; he's wanting to get on one. So probably here in the next year or so, I'll start playing around again with it.

Q:
Can you talk about your first visit to IMS? For me, I went in there, the Indy 500, I've known that my entire life, I had never been there. They brought me in through the gates, and I really just had to stop and was just amazed at the scope and the scale of that place. I mean, it's - it's on a scale we really haven't seen in motorcycle racing. Can you talk about that?

Colin Edwards:
Yeah. You know, I initially went, obviously Indy had asked me to come, the Speedway, to come and promote a little bit. I thought, OK, you know, it's right after Laguna, I'm going to have to end my vacation time, interrupt it, I thought at least I get to catch up with Johnson and Gordon and say hey; I haven't seen them in a few years.

Once I got there, I kind of forgot about why I was there. I thought, 'Holy moly, this place is unbelievable.' Once you get over the awe factor, then it's cool. But, you know, at the same time you've got to think about China and Malaysia and some of the places that we go that have unbelievable facilities. Indy is just on a very large scale, of course. But it's, yeah, it's cool to see. You know, growing up my whole life watching the Indy 500 and actually be there on the front straight, I thought, 'This is pretty cool.'

Q:
The condition of the place, as well. I think you and I have been going to Daytona a long time, and there's no problem going to Daytona and for someone to realise it's an old racetrack. But IMS pre-dates that, but the place is in primo condition. It's in absolutely perfect condition from the grass to the paint to everything. I mean, it's really something amazing, don't you think?

Colin Edwards:
Yeah, I agree. I mean, the only thing, obviously, you look at some of the stands you can tell they were built years ago.

Q:
Yeah, but they offer fantastic viewing, though. That's the thing.

Colin Edwards:
They're clean, they're painted. Everything looks good, you see the architecture, you go, 'OK, it's a bit of old school.' But at the end of the day, it's still there, it's working. But, yeah, that's what I'm saying, can you compare it to anywhere? I don't think you can compare it to anywhere, you know. I think at the end of the day we're going to go there and then start comparing other tracks to it when they come.

Q:
Did you get a chance to walk out on the line of bricks out there on the front straight?

Colin Edwards:
Oh, yeah. I went out there I guess before the start of the race and just went out there with (wife) Alyssia and cruised down the front straight with all the drivers and their cars and stuff.

Q:
The thing that struck me standing there on those bricks and looking down into what would that be, Turn 4 to Turn 1, that place is pool-table flat. The asphalt is perfect. It's unbelievable.

Colin Edwards:
Yeah, it's going to be good. It's going to be good. I think the only thing, you know, probably Indy is worried about, maybe the riders are worried about, maybe a little bit of transition coming off the straight into Turn 1. But my attitude is, hell, we're going to be doing over 150 miles an hour, we can only feel it for a second.

Q:
You were team-mates with Valentino for three years and you guys obviously get on really well. Valentino is a rock star around the entire world, he's one of those guys who in America people know of him, but I don't think they understand how big of a worldwide superstar this guy is outside of North America. Can you explain being his teammate, being his friend, being his team-mate for three years, being his friend, what it's like to be around this guy when he's in Europe or in Asia or outside of North America, just how big of a star this guy really is?

Colin Edwards:
Yeah, you know, I mean, Tiger Woods, he hasn't got anything on Valentino. I mean, as far as worldwide popularity, it's just insane. I mean, it's not normal. I know he makes a lot of money, but I'm quite different as far as -- you know, I like to have my privacy, I love living in Texas. I come out here and shoot my guns and drink some beer and nobody, it's not on the front page of the newspaper the next day. And I didn't mean to say shoot guns and drink beer in the same sentence there, obviously at separate times.

But I don't know, I wouldn't want it. I just wouldn't want it. I couldn't deal with it. I couldn't deal with the lifestyle, the cloak and dagger being hidden and snuck in the back entrance and people finding out and mobbing him and pulling on him and yanking on him. Man, he deals with it. I don't know how he deals with it; it's because he's Valentino. But it's hard work. It's hard work, that's for sure.

Q:
I had a question about the track. You say it's a new track for everyone. Obviously, Ben Spies was at the test in July. Do you think that's going to help him at all?

Colin Edwards:
Well, sure. You know, I think Ben has obviously been to - where did he come to, Donington, a track that he's never seen. Pretty ballsy anyway to show up and - I mean, all of us know the track like the back of our hand; he performed well. To go to Indy, a place he's already been to, actually kind of knows the track, yeah, he will definitely have a little advantage. How long that advantage will last, I don't know. But the first day I would look for him to be, yeah, up toward the top of the sheets.

Q:
And yeah, OK. A couple of questions about the track. Does it look like it will be an interesting track to ride, a fun track to ride?

Colin Edwards:
Yeah, I think so. You know, I have always enjoyed, you know, a lot of elevation and off cambers and positive cambers and that's always, let's say, is a rider preference. I've always enjoyed those kind of tracks. Indy, on the other hand, is just more flat, but at the same time it's a racetrack that everybody has got to run on. I think it's going to be great. Go in positive, man, you have to.

Q:
Yeah. How do you think the 250s - that's a big, long straight there and you have the 250s and 125s going down there. It's going to be a long time for them to be, you know, flat out. Do you expect to see a lot of the little bikes going bang?

Colin Edwards:
Jetting, one word, jetting. You need to get it right. You know, I don't really know that much about the atmosphere, the weather up in Indy or whatever. I think all of that stuff is vital and important when you're dealing with two-strokes, but all the guys on the grand prix circuit, they're pretty smart. I think you might have one or two go bang, but they'll figure it out pretty quick.

Q:
Do you think it's going to be a better atmosphere having the 125s and 250s there instead of having the Superbikes like you do at Laguna?

Colin Edwards:
Absolutely. I don't mean to say anything negative in saying that, but it's just more - it's a grand prix. You know, whenever you show up and you've got just the MotoGP guys and the Superbikes, it's a different feel. It feels like back in World Superbike days. You show up and you run, and you've got all these other support classes that are just local classes. But to have the 125s and 250, yes, absolutely. It's a full Grand Prix. Everybody is turning up and we're going to run it.

Q:
OK. I have one last question, if I may, to come back to tyres. I'm sure you're going to get extremely bored with all the questions about tyres. Dani Pedrosa has got the Bridgestones. I don't know if you saw his times from Monday, they were reasonably impressive.

Colin Edwards:
What did he do?

Q:
34.6 on a race tyre apparently.

Colin Edwards:
That's pretty good.

Q:
Yeah, that was pretty good. That was on the air-valve engine, as well. Do you think or do you expect Pedrosa to be able to, you know, make an impact? Do you think he's going to have a big impact or will the impact mostly be in his mind rather than on the tyres?

Colin Edwards:
No, you know, I don't think it's going to be in his mind, to be honest. I think Dani is probably one of the strongest riders out there as far as mental capacity. He doesn't really need to play the mind game, very hard to play mind games with him. He's very determined, very strong willed. I don't think that really has an influence whatsoever. I think the tyre situation, obviously now after Misano, the times that he's done, he's brewing with confidence and ready to come out and show. After the debacle that's been going on, he's ready to come out and show everybody what he's got and he's ready to come out and show Michelin what they don't have, maybe.

Q:
One last question I wanted to ask you. There was a point early on this year we were all very nervous about your contract Herve Poncharal and everybody at Tech 3, we were most thrilled to hear that you had signed on again for next year. Would you consider going back again to World Superbikes if at any time you had enough of MotoGP?

Colin Edwards:
That's a good question. You know, I don't know. I'm not there yet and I just don't know. I've got kids in school now, I'm missing that. I don't know, that's just something I'd have to weigh talking to my wife about and come up with a family plan. I think if I was to be home 24/7, she would probably hate me. But every time I come home, we fall in love again. So whatever I do in the future, I definitely have to come up to something where I'm in and out of the house weekly or once a month. I don't know, we'll see. You know, if I'm still feeling good and still riding good, then it's always a possibility.


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