Colin Edwards Confirmed With NGM Forward Racing On A Yamaha-Powered CRT Bike For 2012

As had been widely anticipated, Colin Edwards today announced that he would be leaving the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team to join NGM Forward for 2012 to race a CRT machine. At a very well-attended press conference, which featured Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta, as well as NGM CEO Stefano Nesi and Forward Racing boss Giovanni Cuzari, the Forward Racing team presented its plans for next year. Though there is no official confirmation of which engine or chassis the team will be using for 2012, Edwards was emphatic that the bike would be based around a Yamaha R1 engine, while also hoping that Tech 3 would supply a chassis designed by Guy Coulon to fit the engine in.

The move had come about after Edwards has been persuaded of merits of the CRT project, Edwards told the press conference. "I want to thank Mr Ezpeleta, he had a vision in the economic times where the motorcycle industry is struggling," Edwards said. "This is obviously the future: look at other sports, you take a chassis, put an engine in and this is where we're going." The new rules had been the attraction, Edwards said. "Once I got to talking to the team and understanding what the situation was and understanding the rules, I became more motivated. I've always been a good test rider, I've worked for many years working on developing bikes and I felt that this was my next challenge."

Edwards reiterated what he told Asphalt & Rubber a week ago at Indianapolis: that having the three extra liters of fuel would give the bikes a chance to compete with the factory bikes at some tracks like the Sachsenring and Laguna Seca. At others, such as Mugello they would get "murdered" but that was part of the bargain. He also confirmed that he bike will be based around a Yamaha powerplant. "We will be riding a Yamaha engine," Edwards said, "As far as the chassis, we're still weighing up options. My number 1 option would be for Herve Poncharal, Guy Coulon and Tech 3 build a chassis for us. We're still in negotations about that, but for me, that would be the dream team, to have a Yamaha engine in a Tech 3 chassis."

After the press conference, Herve Poncharal denied that Tech 3 was building a chassis for a CRT bike. Asked by a group of French reporters and whether Guy Coulon was building a bike, Poncharal said they were not. "We have nothing on paper, we don't even have an R1 engine in our workshop," Poncharal affirmed, in spite of rumors at Indy that Coulon had already built a chassis for the R1. Poncharal did confirm that Edwards had spent a lot of time in talks with Yamaha USA about the project at Indianapolis, and though the Frenchman was not aware of the outcome of those talks, the fact that Edwards was so emphatic about Yamaha supplying an engine seemed to point in that way. "I'm a part of the Yamaha family, and always will be," Edwards said.

Carmelo Ezpeleta told the press conference that he was delighted to be present at the presentation of the first actual team to confirm its entry as a CRT. The CRT project was the future of MotoGP, he affirmed, telling the press conference "This is a very important day. It is the first step of the regulations we created, and this is the first team to enter as a CRT, but it won't be the last." The aim of the CRT rules was to cut costs and allow a greater participation, Ezpeleta affirmed. "This will be the main category of bikes in the future. In two years, the majoriy of bikes with be CRT, and in the future, all bikes will be this way." The goal was to have six CRT entries in the championship next year, and while it would be hard for a CRT bike to win, the aim was to make them competitive with the satellite entries.

What had made this entry possible was the backing of NGM, an Italian manufacturer of mobile phones. The company had been delighted with the exposure they had received from their Moto2 entry, NGM boss Stefano Nesi told the press conference, and the increased exposure in the MotoGP class would help them to both grow in their domestic market and increase the visibility of the brand in the new markets they were targeting. The CRT concept was crucial, as the much lower price for a CRT machine offered them the opportunity to take part in the premier class. The money required for a satellite machine - rumored to be between 2.9 and 3 million euros a year - was simply not a viable proposition, but a CRT bike would give similar visibility at much less than half the price.

So far, though, the bike has not turned a wheel, indeed, it doesn't even exist yet. Any bike will need a great deal of testing before the season starts in Qatar next year, but Herve Poncharal explained that, just as with Moto2, the CRT teams would not be subject to the testing limits in place on the factory and satellite MotoGP teams. The extra testing is based on a technicality: because the CRT machines will not be official entries until the first race of the year, before then, they do not fall under the MotoGP regulations. The added testing will be welcome, as the only CRT machine to be tested so far - the BMW-powered Suter - was some 4 seconds off the pace at Brno, though this was a significant improvement since the Mugello test, where they had been over 6 seconds behind Honda's 800. Edwards was confident he could do better than that, though. "I'm not gonna come here to run 4 seconds off the pace, I mean come here to work my ass off, and we're gonna get this bike working, pretty simple."

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Congrats to Colin on taking the big step, and risking the unknown world of CRT. This way, with a known rider the pace of the bike`s can be better compared to the factory bikes. I wonder who`s doing the engines? Maybe they will come out of the superbike workshop at Belgarda. At Ducati`s present pace he`ll be able to race with Vale anyway.

Heaven help Grand Prix Motorcycle racing if Colin Edwards represents the future. At least 6 years in MotoGP including 2 years in a full FACTORY Yamaha team and never won a race? His disappearance into those who never were cannot happen fast enough as far as I am concerned and the space he takes up on the grid is made available to a young up and comer is what thesport needs.

Isn't that exactly what a CRT is not supposed to be? Wouldn't NGM need to go out to a dealer and buy their own engines to qualify for CRT status? Anything supplied by the factory is 'factory support' and should run afoul of the rules.

I'm glad that at least one CRT team will have an experienced high-quality rider so we can see the potential of these bikes.


"Edwards was emphatic that the bike would be based around a Yamaha R1 engine,".

So that is NOT factory support that is a Yamaha R1 engine. They didn't say more than that did they? This is what all of the CRT teams are doing, using a stock powerplant and a prototype chassis, no?

directly from the article:

Poncharal did confirm that Edwards had spent a lot of time in talks with Yamaha USA about the project at Indianapolis, and though the Frenchman was not aware of the outcome of those talks, the fact that Edwards was so emphatic about Yamaha supplying an engine seemed to point in that way. "I'm a part of the Yamaha family, and always will be," Edwards said.

Sounds like Edwards is trying to get something (engines or knowledge, it doesn't matter) from Yamaha which is not allowed for a CRT. Maybe it is nothing but I'm thinking that Edwards will be surprised at the lack of R&D resources that a CRT will have available to them. Or maybe because they have nothing invested in the current hierarchy they will be able to respond faster to change requests?


We'll find out soon enough what the truth is. I do wonder what kind of support will be allowed before Dorna clamps down. But my guess is that Edwards knows more than most of us about what he's getting into... and I would also guess that he does not expect a podium finish. It's kind of sad when you think that ever since he left WorldSBK he's been given first a mad Aprilia, then eventually 2nd fiddle to Rossi, and then stuck in a satellite team. That's certainly something I never understood all of these years. Yes MotoGP is the premier class, but if you aren't winning why not go back where you were king? Anyway, I guess that's another discussion...

With Yamaha pulling the plug on the official WSBK team for 2012, there should be the right folks available to help Colin and the team - electronics guys, engine builder, suspension etc. Based on his history with Yamaha and the potential availablity of SBK techs familiar with the R1 this looks like a good option.

"This will be the main category of bikes in the future. In two years, the majoriy of bikes with be CRT, and in the future, all bikes will be this way."

I wish the GPC would stop making vague statements about the future. All bikes will be 1000cc, 81mm, 24L? All manufacturer teams will withdraw? All engines will be production derived?

Two years ago, Ezpeleta was assuring everyone that 1000cc production-derived engines would be nothing more than grid fillers. Now CRT is the future of the sport. Which one is a lie? If Dorna are going to do an about face, they should explain themselves so people aren't left in the dark.

1000cc 81mm 24L prototypes would be heaven. A grid laden with private teams and production engines would be hell (relatively speaking). Which is it?

Why on Earth are the current manufacturers having to make new full prototype bikes at great expense if Ezpeleta is now saying these will be the main category of bikes in the future? Surely Honda / Yamaha / Suzuki and especially Ducati would be best off buying themselves out of their contracts and supplying engines to non factory teams?

I think he's changing his stance as this is the only way that BMW / Aprillia / Kawasaki are likely to come to the party, and maybe the only way Suzuki will afford to stay involved.

If Honda moved to a CRT type bike with a road bike based engine, it might cost much less sell a few more fireblades.

So Mr Ezpeleta reckons "In two years, the majoriy of bikes with be CRT, and in the future, all bikes will be this way." Isn't motogp the pinnacle of two wheeled racing? So whats is he saying he doesn't want factory teams? This sounds like the beging of end for motogp as we know it.

You can't count on the factory teams, sooner or later they always leave. Suzuki is leaving, Honda is cutting back next year. What choice does MotoGP have long term? 4 Yamahas, 4-5 Hondas and a half dozen uncompetitive Ducatis isn't worthy of being called a world championship

but as I understand Belgarda is the Italian Yamaha distributor, they build their bikes in-house with "kit" parts from Yamaha (and presumably available to anyone with the cash, lots of it). Having national connections to major suppliers like Marchisini, Brembo, Termigioni, Magnetti Marelli and Pirelli for the rest of the machine can't hurt! Sure, they have an advantage of having access to LOTS of engines to work from, but they start as production engines.

Factory efforts in MotoGP are partly comprised of technicians who come directly from the manufacturer, they are employed by the manufacturer and assigned to the MotoGP team. The manufacturer specific components (i.e engine, chassis) are available ONLY from the factory under their direct control. For example, Team Repsol mechanics do not build engines, they only install them. HRC technicians at the factory build the engines (particularly now they're sealed) and chassis. "Factory" team parts are only available to that team, regardless of your wealth, thus the moniker of being made from 'unobtanium'.

If the team uses modified production engines incorporating manufacturer kit parts, open market parts, and proprietary parts made in-house, it's not a 'factory' engine. It's a fine line, it's hard to control. In the 1980's 600cc sportbike boom in the US, American Honda was notorious for alleged cheating in Supersport. The rules stated that engine components had to show "factory machine marks", i.e no post-production modification at all. Problem was (it was highly suspected), a production supervisor at the factory in Japan would adjust the production machinery settings, run off 20 or so heads, crankshafts, pistons, whatever, and ship those parts directly to American Honda for their Factory Team Supersport engines to be built from. Small differences, but they had 'factory machine marks', and it makes a difference. Of course, Yamaha and Suzuki could do it too...

I kinda like this idea for the future. Look at F1 for example. There is only two full "works" manufactured teams (Ferrari & Mercedes) Renault will only be an engine supplier starting next season. Mclaren is a big budget "privateer" team with outsourced Mercedes engines and they win. Not to long ago RedBull was a back marker "privateer" team, now they are the top team with Renault engines. I think that as the 1st few seasons pass and they sort the crt chassis and motors, the good ol tried and true (good rider , good team, & good sorted machine) will rise to the top. We could see a Catalunya Caixa Repsol Suter Honda crt with Marquez riding as a "factory" team in the future. who knows. Motogp does not need the manufacturers. Another great example is WSBK. they made their own homologated rule book and said forget the manufacurers. If you want to race then you do it our way. They left briefly and now just about all the manufacturers have official supported teams i.e. Ten Kate Honda, Alstare Suzuki, PBM Kawasaki, Althea Ducati, etc. This will cut the budgets a lot I think. Every manufacturer will officially back a crt and the only difference will be the electronics. The factory backed crt's will have outsourced chassis and the same engines as any other privateer team, but with better electronics thats it. This will get more teams to come play and have a better chance at running at the front with the big dogs. All the national superbike series are going in this route in some way to save money, retain bigger grids and provide closer and better racing wich imho will help the sport grow. It will still be a prototype series because of the more stiffer and unforgiving gp chassis and better tires. Also with WSBK soon to be holding more tighter machine modifications,the lap times will still be faster. I think its a win win situation for everyone involved. I think Moto2 is already starting to become faster than WSS in only its 2nd year with less modifications to their motors (about 10 hp less). It's the tires and chassis. I think it will work.

What you describe is more like Kenny Robert's vision.

Difference is, in F1 the customer engines are prototypes. You don't find anything similar sitting in a Renault Clio. In a CRT bike, the engine is production based. So for example an R1-based CRT bike will have inherently different geometry that the m1, because the R1 motor is angled forward more than the M1 motor. A Suzuki or Honda CRT bike will be an IL4, hence nothing like their respective protoype bikes, whether they are "Factory" (Repsol + Simoncelli) or not (Aoyama + Elias)

As the series potentially moves to an all ''CRT'' grid, I think you might find the manufacturers moving to more competitive prod engines (ie. honda to build 81mm stroke 72 degree v-four 1000cc engine for the 2013 CBR 1000RR) in street bikes. Then, aftermarket bits (desmo valves in ducatis case for example) to be made available from the factory, through either design drafts or expensive off the shelf type bits. Once it all washes out, it'll still be the teams with the best riders, best techs and biggest bank accounts, who are winning races.

Moreover, look for the manufacturers to work within rules to he enth degree towards maximum advantage. The bigger budget teams will also be able to ''hedge their bets''. Either way, it should be interesting to watch....

Huh? Last I looked, it was pretty hard to buy a Ducati without desmo valves these last 30 years.

Otoh, it's unlikely production bikes will ever appear with pneumatic valve springs... although I guess the bikes could be engineered to make their fitment easier.

The MSMA wanted out of WSBK, and they created a rulebook that would turn the sport over to privateers when the 1000cc era began. Neither Ducati nor FGSports (IMS) were happy with the situation or the lack of homologation specials so they created a rulebook to force the manufacturers back in. The WSBK situation is the opposite of how you classified it. Japanese want out, Ducati/IMS want manufacturers in. The Japanese still pretend like they are not pouring money into the sport via their private teams.

While factory teams should certainly not be part of production racing, I do think that factory teams are an integral part of MotoGP. I don't care which factories participate, but someone should be producing prototype engines. I'm inclined to believe that the factories will continue participating b/c Ducati's twin is not suitable for CRT competition; and Honda, Kawasaki, and Suzuki engines are quite short of the 81mm limit (76mm, 76mm, and 74.5mm respectively).

So what is Ezpeleta talking about? In two years, everything will have 24L? In two years, all engines will be production derived? Was he referring to all satellite bikes?

Maybe Ezpeleta doesn't even know what he is saying.

Two problems I can see here, 1st - if Colin is so adament they are going to use Yamaha engines, how on earth are they going to get halfway competitive horsepower when the R1 base engine design is already a long way behind the Aprillia and BMW engines?

2nd - 4 seconds a lap... that is not even in the same universe as a GP bike, the best WSB's (Aprillia's for example) are 2 seconds a lap slower on the faster tracks ....I hope Colin has really thought about this

There is a limit to how much horsepower a motorcycle can actually effectively use. I have read in several interviews that the figure is somewhere around 250ish hp. Beyond that how the power is put down is of greater importance than the peak number when all the bikes are within spitting distance of each other power wise. Right now the Yamahas aren't doing too poorly in WSBK or in AMA so I don't think using an R1 engine as a starting point will be an issue.
As far as trying to compare lap times, there is more in the lap times than sheer horsepower (in terms of raw power I think the WSBK bikes are closer to the GP bikes than many people might think), chassis, overall weight and it's distribution, tires, electronics and riders all make a difference.

R1 base engine design is already a long way behind the Aprillia and BMW engines?

At the Nurburgring this am, top of the time sheets is the least powerful bike on the grid, the Ducati. The R1 is second, just in front of the Aprilias which it is theoretically "a long way behind". The best BMW is in 10th...

Colin seems to be very excited about the prospects of the team. His enthusiasm is evident from his words. Good for the team. Wishing all the best to him and the team.

Street bike motors in the premier class. WOW exciting!
I'm kidding. I would rather watch 30+ year old Honda NR500's
race in my local wal mart parking lot.