Tech Three Yamaha will feature an all-American line up in 2010 when American Ben Spies joins the squad. "Team Texas" has already been applied to the team as both Spies and Edwards hail from the Lone Star State.
"Or, Team Redneck," Edwards deadpanned this morning on his mobile phone. "Whatever you call it, I like it a lot better than 'Team Wanker'."
To anyone that is intimate with the intensely political guts of MotoGP the reality of an All-American team is amazing. Edwards agrees.
"Obviously, to have two Americans on the same team in MotoGP in this day and age when, generally, you need to have the right passport to be on a French or Spanish team, is great," he commented. "Yamaha managed to make it happen. I've been talking to Ben (Spies) for some time and we're both really happy about it."
Spies will leave the WSBK series and jump in with both feet in MotoGP. How does Edwards rate his chances in the blue ribbon class? "I think that the most important thing is that he has a two-year deal," confides Edwards. "As for MotoGP, you need to get here as soon as possible and it's a smart way to do it--to get a two-year deal. He'll have one year to learn and figure things out and then he can push the second year. Knowing Ben, he won't be waiting to the second year to push, though."
"His chances?" Edwards continued. "Well, he's not going to be racing against Nori Haga here. Not saying anything bad against Haga; he's a talent in himself, but MotoGP is a bit different. Which Ben knows."
A detail that is not lost on Edwards is that he and Spies share a similar riding style, both focusing and using the front end of the motorcycle as hard as possible. "I agree," Edwards says, "I think that I have always had a riding style formed when I rode a 250 and I think Ben may have it a bit more than I do."
"You know, we've really got this M1 Yamaha running well now, and with the Bridgestones, the front end of the bike is solid gold," Edwards explains.
"I think Ben's main concentration is going to be get traction and to get his corner speed down, or up, actually," Edwards says.
Spies joining the Tech Three Yamaha team brings an end to a tumultuous GP career and tenure on that team by James Toseland. Toseland came into MotoGP like a lion on the Tech Three team, with fans asserting that he was the new "A" rider on the squad, lapping faster than Edwards. Sadly, it all ended with a tail between the legs, and a split between two good teammates, Edwards and Toseland, over crewchiefs.
"You know, I don't really have anything against James," Edwards says now that the situation has been diffused. "I guess the situation had a silver lining, as I got to work with Guy Coulon as my crewchief and I think he's one of the best."
"You know," Edwards says, "James just made some demands to get things the way he wanted them. And nothing came from it. It never improved. They gave him everything he wanted and when that happens you have to perform. And he didn't. That's the reality."