The Texas Tornado
American MotoGP superstar Colin Edwards has participated in an exclusive interview series, "Tornado Warning," with the official Web site of the Red Bull Indianapolis MotoGP, before every MotoGP event since early in the 2008 season.
The colorful, outspoken Edwards, from Houston, never shies from speaking his mind on a variety of topics in the world of motorcycle racing, usually with great insight and a healthy dose of self-deprecating humor.
The following are selected quotes from "Tornado Warning" that provide a glimpse into the mind and conscience of the popular rider known as "The Texas Tornado."
Colin Edwards Speaks…
June 2008, about the brilliance of six-time MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi – "The guy has stopped impressing me a long time ago because he just seems to do it all the time. But what is it? I don’t know what it is. You could say he’s getting in the zone, but I think he’s maybe permanently stuck there."
July 2008, about his reaction to finishing third despite dropping to last place on Lap 1 of TT Assen in the Netherlands – "I ride a lot better when I’m pissed off, anyways. Always seemed to have. I was like: "Screw it. Chuck it into the gravel or let’s see how far we can get up."
July 2008, about the pressure of racing on home soil at Laguna Seca and Indianapolis – "Maybe I just look at pressure differently. I just look at pressure as if there’s just no option. Not pressure like, ‘Oh, my God, I’ve got to do good; I’ve got all these people here.’ I look at it as like: ‘Well, there’s no frickin’ option now. I’ve got to kick some ass because they’re watching."
September 2008, about the treacherous weather conditions during the inaugural Red Bull Indianapolis GP – "The last two or three laps, man, they were just … Hell, I almost crashed going slow. I was going slow, and I went to flick into a corner, and a gust hit me and pushed me out to the white line. I missed the apex by about, I don’t know, 10 yards, and I thought, ‘Jesus Christ, this is jacked up."
September 2008, about why he wears a U.S. Marines ball cap at races – "My heart goes out to these guys, and I see what the reaction is, and that pisses me off more than anything. Here we’ve got guys who are giving their lives to fight for our freedom and yet you still have people who are so against … I can understand being against the war, but at the end of the day, you still have to support the guys who are out there doing it. It doesn’t matter what your belief might be … At the end of the day, they just don’t get enough respect. That’s the only thing I can do."
April 2009, about his growing anticipation to start the 2009 season – "Yeah, I am. This week, in particular, I went out and shot the .50-caliber yesterday. Blowin’ stuff up, and it feels like any other week. But every time I think about it or rest at night, I know I got the first race coming up. So yeah, I get excited about it."
April 2009, about the night race at Qatar – "I like the night race. I think it’s a cool little scenario. It’s something special; you only have one a year. It’s something a little bit different. I tend to ride faster when I can’t see where I’m going. Everything works out better that way."
May 2009, about his inability to find pace on sections of the Jerez circuit in Spain – "I think it’s me; I think it’s the bike. I’ve had one good result there, and I don’t know why, there are a couple of corners on that track that, I don’t know, I just seem to be dorking around there. There are a couple of corners that I follow somebody, and they pull like a bike-length or two on me through them, and I’m like, ‘What am I doing wrong?"
June 2009, about the difference between the mentality of motorcycle racers and auto racers about crashes – "Well, you can take that carbon-fiber shell. I don’t want anything to do with that. When I crash, I want to get as far away from all that action as possible. That’s the mentality of a motorcycle racer. It’s like: "I want to get away. It’s just me, with a whole road of gravel. Not me and some 2,000-pound vehicle fricking hurling into a wall. I’m out on that gig."
June 2009, about his opinion of changes to the circuit at Assen, Netherlands – "I think they’ve done a good job to try and screw everything up after all the changes to the track, to be honest with you. Obviously, when I first started going there on Superbikes, the track was just, whew, ahh, it was amazing. Every little part about that track was just amazing. If you messed up one corner, hell, it’d screw you up for four corners down the road. They’ve butchered it. I don’t know, man. This gets back into politics and all this other stuff why they changed it. Hell, there’s a motorcycle track there, and then people move in and start complaining about the noise. Go figure. If you didn’t want to live by a motorcycle track, then pack your (stuff) and move on. You get enough people that complain, and next thing you know, they had to change the track for noise control. The track has been there for, hell, I don’t know how many decades. Which is just, it’s ridiculous why they had to change it. But welcome to socialism."
June 2009, about Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, home of the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix – "That Turn 1 is still a mother. It doesn’t even look like a turn. But honestly, going over that thing fifth gear tapped, it will put a little pucker in your buttocks region occasionally if you did it wrong."
July 2009, describing the fast pace of fellow Yamaha riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo at Sachsenring, Germany – "Hell, Valentino and Lorenzo were like scalded cats. They were gone."
July 2009, about the use of electronics in MotoGP – "Everybody has got it. Traction control, anti-wheelie control, frickin’ scratch-your-ass-while-you’re-racing control; whatever control it is, there’s always some new thing they’re coming out with … Our cornering speeds right now are so just astronomical that if you didn’t have traction control, man, you would be in orbit every other frickin’ race."
July 2009, about a rule in 2010 that will prohibit rookies from riding on MotoGP factory teams – "You know, being a right-wing extremist, the rules are made to be broken. That’s the reason you implant a rule in the first place so a few years later you can come in and change it. I think it’s B.S. … I just think whoever works the hardest makes the most money. I just think whoever rides the best gets the best rides. And when you try to implement any rules saying, no this or that, I don’t know, I think it’s all bullsh*t."