Colin Edwards has claimed Ducati's decision to withdraw from the World Superbike Championship was influenced by the regulation changes that it felt wasn't giving it a fair opportunity to win.
In a candid interview with SuperbikePlanet.com
, the former WSBK champion revealed he was close to sealing a deal to return to the series he won in 2000 and 2002, only for it to fall through when Ducati claimed it was uncertain of staying.
Ducati eventually announced its withdrawal from World Superbikes as a factory-backed entity in August, insisting it had chosen to channel its resources to its road bike division.
However, fans were more suspicious over the move, claiming the arrival of Valentino Rossi at the manufacturer's MotoGP team had drained funds, while it was widely acknowledged that Ducati were not satisfied with the equalisation techniques being employed to retain a parity between the twin and four-cylinder bikes in WSBK.
Indeed, Edwards appears to admit the latter, claiming Ducati were not willing to stay in a championship it couldn't succeed in.
“I flew over just before Germany [German GP] and went to Bologna and had a meeting with the guys,” he said. “Pretty much, we were, I would say, in the ballpark. Pretty much agreed on most things. I am my own manager, so it was pretty easy to sit there. They felt me out, I felt them out.
“Pretty quickly [we] agreed on a bunch of numbers, terms of contract and that kind of stuff. Nothing written down on paper. They had said, 'We don't know if we're staying." They told me up front, "Don't count on us. We might not stay. We would like to stay. If we do stay, we want you.'
“With Valentino coming over, that's going to be a big pull out of a lot of their resources, but at the same time, they were still full forward about staying in Superbike. But they needed some rules tinkered around with. Obviously that fell through, and they just said, 'Screw it. We're not going to race in a series that we can't win.'
Despite missing out on the deal, Edwards will remain in MotoGP next season after re-signing with Tech 3 Yamaha, while Ducati will have a semi-works presence in WSBK through its Althea Racing and Liberty Racing teams.