The question of who would be partnering Cal Crutchlow at Herve Poncharal's Monster Tech 3 Yamaha squad next season has been exercising several minds, not least that of Poncharal himself. As was demonstrated so vividly during the search for a replacement for Valentino Rossi during his absence through injury, there are worryingly few candidates to come into MotoGP and be competitive quickly. With Cal Crutchlow joining the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team for 2011 as a rookie from World Superbikes, having someone who knows both the tracks and preferably the bikes is imperative for Poncharal's team.
So it comes as no surprise to learn that Colin Edwards has renewed his deal with the Tech 3 team for one more year. Edwards had earlier been linked to a Xerox Ducati ride in World Superbikes, but after the factory Ducati decided to pull out of WSBK for next season, Edwards' options were quickly limited. Interests collided, leaving Edwards and Tech 3 as each other's best options for 2011. Below is the text of the press release announcing the deal, for what is likely to be Colin Edwards' last season in MotoGP:
Colin Edwards signs 2011 Monster Yamaha Tech3 contract
The Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team is delighted to announce that Colin Edwards has signed a new one-year contract to ride for the French-based squad in the 2011 MotoGP world championship.
Next year's Monster Yamaha Tech3 line-up will feature a blend of vast experience and young potential with Edwards partnering highly-rated British rider Cal Crutchlow.
The 36-year-old has raced for Herve Poncharal's Tech3 squad since 2008 and during that period the popular American has produced his best form in the MotoGP class. He finished top non-factory rider last season by finishing fifth in the overall stangings and is currently 11th in the 2010 rankings with a best result of seventh position in Laguna Seca, Brno and Misano.
Edwards, who made his 100th appearance for Yamaha in today's inaugural Motorland Aragon race, has been a key figure in establishing the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team as the leading non-factory squad in MotoGP in the 800cc four-stroke era.
And his wealth of experience will be an invaluable asset in helping new Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Crutchlow adapt to MotoGP next season.
Colin Edwards: "I am delighted to have signed a new one-year contract with the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team. I want to say a big thanks to Yamaha and to Tech3 for their unwavering support. I am honoured to continue my long and successful relationship with Yamaha, Herve Poncharal and all at Tech3. I love the team and feel like part of a big family and I'm thrilled that our adventure together is continuing next year. I'm excited at the challenge of competing in the MotoGP world championship again and still being competitive in probably the strongest field in history is an achievement I'm proud of. I am also looking forward to working with and helping out Cal Crutchlow next season. I'd like to think I helped James Toseland and Ben Spies adapt when they arrived in MotoGP, and I will be doing my utmost to do the same for Cal if he needs any advice. I think all of us can look forward to an exciting 2011 together."
Herve Poncharal – Team Manager: "I am thrilled to have reached a new agreement with Colin for the 2011 MotoGP world championship. His appetite and passion for racing is stronger than ever and he has been an incredible asset for the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team. He is a great character but he has consistently proven that he remains one of the fastest riders in the world and I am glad that the Tech3 story with Colin will go on for one more year. I believe with Colin's experience and boundless enthusiasm and Cal's hunger and desire to succeed in MotoGP that the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team can already look forward to 2011 with tremendous optimism."