Forward MotoGP rider Colin Edwards II, heading home to Texas after the Japanese Grand Prix, still had his head in Motegi and the upcoming Spanish Grand Prix at Valencia and hadn't even thought much about Ben Spies decision to retire.
"So, did he not want to ride the Superbike?" Edwards asked about Spies. It's rumored that Spies mulled over a season on the Panigale Ducati WSBK before deciding to retire.
"It's still surprising," Edwards said of Spies. "I guess he feels that this is the time to call it quits. He's been injured so much I think he just feels that this is the right time."
Many, Edwards included, suspected that Spies would race one more season on a Superbike before exiting the sport. However, beyond injuries, Edwards feels that the economic realities of international roadracing are also a factor in why Spies decided to hang up his helmet for good.
"There's no money in this sport anymore. You're risking your life to do this and if you're doing it for peanuts then it just doesn't make sense," Edwards says.
Guarded and at home behind a pair of sunglasses, Ben Spies remains the biggest racing introvert that the sport had seen since Freddie Spencer. While Spencer's distance from anyone not in his racing inner circle was like that of a celebrity, Spies has and always will beat his corejust a very shy person. As an example: while most riders will preen for any minor celebrity, Spies had to nearly be dragged over to meet Tonight Show host Jay Leno once, and still stiffens up slightly when around people he doesn't know. Current WSBK champion Tom Sykes was teamed with Spies for a season and barely knows him at all.
In reality Spies had two close rider friends in the GP paddock: Casey Stoner and his former teammate Colin Edwards II. In 2010 the pair were teammates at Tech 3 Yamaha, the year of the famed "Team Texas".
Being from Texas the pair fell into a great friendship. As you'd expect, Edwards says, "We clicked. It was a fun year."
Famously, that season Edwards was the first to show Spies the film "The Big Lebowski", a movie that they went on to watch countless times together.
Edwards gives Spies credit where due. "That whole season, on the track, he was in front of me. He rode great," Edwards says. "The elevator was going up for him, he was skyrocketing."