Colin Edwards ended his Aprilia career in style on Sunday at Valencia; the Honda bound Texan hounding former WSBK rival Troy Bayliss for much of the race (pictured), on his way to a strong eighth place at the end of 30 hard laps.

Afterwards, Edwards claimed that he would have been faster around the sinuous stop-start Valencia circuit on a Superbike rather than the prototype three-cylinder RS Cube.

"This track is strange, for sure I could go much faster with a SBK," he said, although the lap times don't support his argument as the American's best Superbike circulation (in the 2002 event) was 1.5secs slower than his best lap time on Sunday, while his Aprilia was also 0.8secs faster than Neil Hodgson's quickest lap on a Ducati 999 earlier this year.

Turning to reflect on his what has at times been a testing rookie GP season, Edwards was broadly optimistic - and determined to go out fighting.

"I started the season well and the end isn't so bad," said the 2004 Telefonica Honda rider. "I wanted to show to everybody that I am a professional and would give everything in the last race. Unfortunately I had a problem with the brake system that slowed my pace, but thanks to my team for their good work and an exciting season."

Team-mate Noriyuki Haga (lower pic) didn't end his own time at the Italian team in quite the same way, the Samurai of Slide having struggled all weekend before finding some more speed to take the final point for 15th.

"If I checked the lap times for the race I made big progress compared with (Saturday)," said the Japanese. "I had a good start and did my best to say goodbye to my team in the best way. Now I feel very tired..."

"Today we have shown that our bike is improving and our project is valid," stated project leader Gigi Dall'Igna proudly. "This result makes us very confident for the future and we feel ready to start immediately the development of the bike. Now we will test here from Tuesday in order to set up the new chassis for the next season."

"With this race we finish the collaboration between Aprilia and both MotoGP riders: Colin Edwards and Nori Haga. In the name of Aprilia I want to thank them for their good work in trying to develop a new bike. I just want to say good bye and hope to enjoy the challenge next year," concluded Aprilia racing director Jan Witteveen.

 

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