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April 11, 2014 | By CycleWorld.com
Colin Edwards will retire from motorcycle racing at the end of the 2014 FIM MotoGP World Championship season. The 40-year-old Texan confirmed what many expected during Thursday’s pre-event press conference for this weekend’s Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas at Circuit of The Americas near Austin, Texas.
“My wife and I have been talking about it for about a month,” Edwards said. “My kids are getting into baseball and gymnastics—all this stuff with school—and I need to be home.”
After making his announcement, Edwards received enthusiastic applause, culminating in a standing ovation from fellow riders Valentino Rossi, Nicky Hayden, Marc Marquez, Bradley Smith, and Josh Herrin, as well as a large assembly of international media.
Edwards, who turned professional in 1992, has earned three pole positions and 12 podiums in MotoGP but no race wins. He currently rides for the NGM Mobile Forward Racing team on an Open-class Yamaha YZR-M1—essentially factory rider Jorge Lorenzo’s 2012 title-winning machine.
“This year, we started testing,” Edwards said, “and I didn’t see the improvement I wanted to see. I’ve tried to change my riding style to make this bike work. I was like, ‘Man, I don’t know if I can do this.’
“I’m really struggling with feel. From the swingarm pivot to the front axle, there’s no flex. The more I turn it, the straighter it goes. I like to dig in and feel everything work.”
Asked to recall the most memorable race of his career, Edwards immediately mentioned his 2002 victory over rival Troy Bayliss at Imola, Italy, which earned him a second Superbike World Championship. “Winning the Suzuka 8 Hours was pretty good, too.”
Edwards won the well-known endurance race held at the Honda-owned Suzuka Circuit in Japan three times—1996, 2001, and 2002. Rossi teamed with Edwards twice. “We shared the bike in the 8 Hours in 2000 and 2001,” Rossi said. “I think this is the best memory we have together.”
Rossi called Edwards “one of my best friends in the paddock. We were teammates for a long time in a great moment of my career. He’s a great guy, a great rider, and we will miss him.”
Current MotoGP World Champion Marquez drew a laugh when the Spaniard said he was just two years old in 1995, Edwards’ first year racing in Europe.
Hayden added, “When Colin started in AMA, he took it by storm. He’s given a lot to this sport, but he’s got a lot to look forward to. I hope we see another wave of young Americans come in and carry the flag.”
“As a rider, you’re the only one who knows when it’s time to call it quits,” 1993 500cc World Champion Kevin Schwantz said. “As a fellow Texan, he has given us a lot to be proud of. Congratulations on a great career.”
Edwards said he has no regrets. “I know it is the right decision for my family and myself. My whole life has been racing motorcycles. I’ve got a next stage of my career. I just have to figure out what that is. This is a new beginning.”
Story courtesy of CycleWorld.com