As rumoured, Colin Edwards will remain alongside James Toseland at Tech 3 next season after agreeing a new one-year contract to stay at the satellite Yamaha team.

The deal was announced on the eve of Edwards' home US Grand Prix and means the double World Superbike champion will continue his M1 relationship for a fifth season.

"I am very happy to renew my contract with the Tech 3 team and Yamaha for 2009," said Edwards. "It is also extra special for me to be able to announce it at my home race in Laguna Seca. I have always had a fantastic rapport with the American fans, and a great relationship with many people at Yamaha US."

The double World Superbike champion had initially planned to step back from grand prix racing at the end of this year and spend a season racing for Yamaha in the AMA Superbike Championship before retirement.

However, Edwards has been rejuvenated by the switch from the factory Yamaha team to Poncharal's satellite outfit - taking two podiums and a pole from the first ten rounds - and soon made clear he saw no reason to quit when things are going so well.

"It is no secret that I had agreed with Yamaha to finish my MotoGP career at the end of 2008 and continue my racing career with them in America," he confirmed. "But as soon as I began working with the Tech 3 team I instantly formed a great relationship with my guys. A big part of me wanting to stay is down to them, particularly Herve Poncharal and my crew chief Gary Reynders, but it has been a real team effort.

"With the amazing amount of work and dedication shown by Yamaha staff throughout last winter, I knew I wasn't ready to leave MotoGP before the season had even started. The fact that I have been able to produce the best form of my MotoGP career this season speaks volumes for the effort and commitment the Tech 3 team has put in."

Nevertheless, question marks had been raised over Tech 3's 2009 budget and Edwards had been linked with Kawasaki, but it seems Yamaha stepped in to help close the deal.

"I am also thankful to Yamaha for continuing to give me their full support, and giving me the chance to continue our long and successful relationship, which I have always valued very highly," said Edwards. "I started my career with Yamaha and first and foremost I have always considered myself part of the Yamaha family and I'd like to say a big personal thanks to Masao Furusawa, Lin Jarvis and Bob Starr. Across Japan, Europe and America, their support has been essential in securing this new deal.

"I believe I still have a lot to offer MotoGP, and I can assure the staff and management at Tech 3 and Yamaha that I will be giving it my all to produce the results all of us deserve, starting this weekend at Laguna Seca," Colin concluded.

Edwards has taken six top-six finishes so far this year and is currently the leading satellite rider in the world championship, holding fifth position.

"It is a great pleasure to be able to announce that Colin has renewed his contract with the Tech 3 team for 2009. It has been a privilege to work with him and I am delighted that he has decided to stay for at least one more season," added Poncharal. "Tech 3 has been back on the podium and back in pole position for the first time in a long time in 2008 and that is thanks to Colin.

"I am happy that he has been able to produce the best results of his MotoGP career so far with Tech 3, which is also testament to the hard work and effort Yamaha made in the last few months. Although he has only been with us for ten races, the relationship is so great that it feels like he has been part of the team for many years. He has been a great asset to the team and Yamaha both on and off the track, and he was an incredibly important figure during last winter to develop the bike and Michelin tyres to a highly competitive level.

"With his unique personality, Colin has brought a great atmosphere to the garage, and together with James, we are proud to have two such dedicated riders. To have both Colin and James signed already, and a two-year deal in place with Yamaha until the end of 2010, the future has never looked brighter for Tech 3."

Edwards won his second World Superbike championship for Honda in 2002 before signing to ride for Aprilia in MotoGP the following season. A switch to Honda Gresini for 2004 saw the Texan score his first podium finishes and he became Rossi's factory Yamaha team-mate from 2005-2007.

Still to win a MotoGP race, the 34-year-old has finished in second place on four occasions, with his best championship position to date fourth place in 2005.

"We are very happy to have been able to secure Colin as a Yamaha rider for 2009," said Yamaha Motor Racing managing director Lin Jarvis. "We have been working to improve the quality of the total Yamaha package in the MotoGP class and in 2008 we have achieved the best combined results to date for many a year.

"This comes down to the fact that we currently have with the Yamaha Factory Team and the Tech 3 Yamaha Team two excellent teams, with first class technical partners, a great bike and four top class riders.

"Colin's contribution to the improvement of results of the Tech 3 Team has been very important for the team and for the total Yamaha results. Colin has also played a very important role in the pre-season bike development for 2008 and we are very happy to have retained his skills and experience for the 2009 campaign. I hope Colin can celebrate this new contract this weekend with a top result here in front of his home fans in Laguna Seca!"

Of the four Yamaha rides in MotoGP, three are now already confirmed for next season - Jorge Lorenzo at the factory team, plus Edwards and Toseland at Tech 3.

Valentino Rossi is expected to announce a new factory contract before the conclusion of this weekend's event.

Comments

Loading Comments...