20 May 2014
Colin Edwards: Forward chassis debut at Mugello MotoGP?
Colin Edwards will be testing 'new parts' for his Forward Yamaha at the Italian MotoGP, which should mean the team's long awaited own chassis...
UPDATE: On Wednesday, Giovanni Cuzuri confirmed to the official MotoGP website that Colin Edwards will indeed debut the new frame at Mugello:
"The first new item we got was in Le Mans, which was a new gearbox. In Mugello we will then get a new frame and front fairing, whilst the rear of the bike will be revised in terms of the seat and its support.
"Afterwards, between Barcelona and the following GP we'll get more components that will bring [the] bike to about 75% of what it will be like in 2015."
Colin Edwards has confirmed he will be testing 'new parts' for his Forward Yamaha at the forthcoming Italian MotoGP round.
Speaking after Sunday's Le Mans race, when he pushed his machine over the finish line in 17th following fuel issues, the Texan said: "We need to keep on working and I look forward to the Italian GP where we will test new parts."
Those parts are expected to mean the debut of the team's own chassis, to replace the Yamaha version with which Edwards' team-mate Aleix Espargaro is currently dominating the new Open category,
Originally intended as just an M1 engine-lease deal, the current Forward machine also boasts last year's Yamaha chassis and swing-arm. However, despite Espargaro's success, Yamaha appears adamant that Forward must source its own chassis for 2015.
The timing of Mugello would fit in with previous comments by team manager Giovanni Cuzari about the new chassis debut, made while denying reports of a split with Edwards at Jerez earlier this month:
“For me it is impossible that Colin will stop before the end of this season - he has to test the new chassis... It will be ready as soon as possible. In the next two, maximum three, races.”
FTR was originally due to build this year's Forward chassis, a status then downgraded to supplying the remaining pieces not available from Yamaha. However reference to 'FTR' was then dropped from the official bike title just before the start of the season, adding to ongoing rumours about whether the British manufacturer was still involved.
At Jerez, Cuzari declined to name who has designed the team's forthcoming frame, refusing to rule out FTR but making clear there was another option already in place: “Everything is made by Forward... We still have a relationship with FTR, if they are ready to support us, otherwise we have our own consultant.”
Rumours suggest that the consultant could be former FTR chief designer Mark Taylor, reported as having left the company just before the start of this season.
While Edwards has made clear his desire to try a new chassis, in the hope of curing his turning difficulties, Espargaro has ruled out deviating from the Yamaha package.
"I will not use the FTR frame this season even if it arrives," declared Espargaro during round one in Qatar. “I know Colin is really interested to try it but it is not my plan, because this bike is competitive and I don't want to invent anything."
Espargaro has claimed a career best fourth place so far this year and is eighth in the world championship. Edwards, who will retire at the end of this season, is 18th, having scored his only points with ninth at Losail.
FTR supplied the chassis for Forward's 2013 Kawasaki-powered CRT machine.
Click on relevant pic to enlarge
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