Colin Edwards, the World Superbike champion, is considering a move to the rival grand prix circuit after meeting with the Honda hierarchy in Italy. With grand prix rules set to change next year, allowing superbike-style four-stroke bikes to compete, the Japanese giants are keen to cover all angles by adding to their impressive array of talent.
Such a move would set up the enticing possibility of a team pairing with current grand prix leading light, Valentino Rossi, another Honda rider. The Italian has been asked to test their new V5 engine after this month's Suzuka eight-hour race and it is expected that Edwards will also be handed that option.
"I have spoken with Honda, but nothing formal – only really about my feelings. It's probably going to be a few more weeks before we sit down and start to discuss this year. We'll get the Brands Hatch World Superbike round and Suzuka out of the way first," said the Texan.
Rossi, who destroyed the British Grand Prix field at Donington Park on Sunday, is encouraging Edwards to try his hand in the blue riband event. "It is necessary for him to race in GPs at some point, otherwise he might continue to be a good rider in superbikes without knowing if he could be as good in this series," enthused Rossi.
One factor that could influence Edwards is his floundering defence of the World Superbike title. His season has been beset by inconsistency and, in another weekend's races dominated by riders using Dunlop tyres, the Michelin-clad Edwards lost further ground on series leader Troy Bayliss on home soil.
Two sixth places from the Castrol Honda rider compared unfavourably with Bayliss's fourth in both races at the Laguna Seca track. Ben Bostrom, a Ducati team-mate of Bayliss, convincingly won both races but, with four rounds remaining, the Australian, who was brought in to replace the injured Carl Fogarty last season, now enjoys a commanding advantage of 53 points.
Britain's Neil Hodgson turned in his best display outside Great Britain with two podium finishes that lifted him to fifth in the Championship standings. Hodgson's young team-mate, James Toseland, also turned in a season's best by finishing seventh in the afternoon race.
SUPERBIKE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS (Laguna Seca, California): Race 1: 1 B Bostrom (US) Ducati L&M 40mins 32.161sec; 2 N Hodgson (GB) GSE Racing 40:33.498; 3 T Corser (Aus) Virgilio Aprilia Axo 40:35.084; 4 T Bayliss (Aus) Ducati Infostrada 40:48.890; 5 E Bostrom (US) Kawasaki 40:50.586; 6 C Edwards (US) Castrol Honda 41:02.923; 7 R Xaus (Sp) Ducati Infostrada 41:05.610; 8 T Okada (Japan) Castrol Honda 41:06.532; 9 D Chandler (US) Kawasaki 41:07.799; 10 J Toseland (GB) GSE Racing 41:09.778; 11 R Laconi (Fr) Virgilio Aprilia Axo 41:10.121; 12 G Lavilla (Sp) Fuchs Kawasaki 41:16.522; 13 B Parkes (Aus) Ducati NCR 41:19.517; 14 S Martin (Aus) DFX Racing 41:21.278; 15 G Bussei (It) Ducati NCR 41:28.231; 16 L Pedercini (It) Pedercini 41:34.003; 17 R Ulm (Aut) Gerin WSBK 41:38.503; 18 P Goddard (Aus) Benelli Sport 41:39.263; 19 M Sanchini (It) Pedercini 41:47.060; 20 M Borciani (It) Pedercini 41:47.155. Race 2: 1 B Bostrom (US) Ducati L&M 40mins 31.320sec; 2 T Corser (Aus) Virgilio Aprilia Axo 40:33.680; 3 N Hodgson (GB) GSE Racing 40:46.630; 4 T Bayliss (Aus) Ducati Infostrada 40:49.448; 5 E Bostrom (US) Kawasaki 40:49.904; 6 C Edwards (US) Castrol Honda 40:50.126; 7 J Toseland (GB) GSE Racing 40:50.399; 8 A Yanagawa (Japan) Fuchs Kawasaki 40:50.717; 9 R Laconi (Fr) Virgilio Aprilia Axo 41:02.067; 10 R Xaus (Sp) Ducati Infostrada 41:05.419; 11 T Okada (Japan) Castrol Honda 41:06.116; 12 S Chambon (Fr) Suzuki Alstare Corona 41:15.743; 13 S Martin (Aus) DFX Racing 41:19.623; 14 B Parkes (Aus) Ducati NCR 41:31.388; 15 P Goddard (Aus) Benelli Sport 41:32.323; 16 R Ulm (Aut) Gerin WSBK 41:42.865; 17 M Borciani (It) Pedercini 41:54.981; 18 M Sanchini (It) Pedercini 41:59.463; 19 M Craggill (Aus) Pacific 41:59.935; 20 B Stey (Fr) White Endurance 40:32.400.Reuse content