Toseland-Edwards rift good news for Tech 3 says Poncharal

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Tech 3 Yamaha boss Herve Poncharal has admitted his riders Colin Edwards and James Toseland are not best friends at present, due to their crew chief swap at the end of 2008, but the Frenchman says the rift will motivate his riders.

Following the arrival of James Toseland on the MotoGP scene last year he immediately hit it off with his new team-mate Colin Edwards as the two riders joined the Tech 3 Yamaha team and began work with their new crew chiefs.

Edwards, working with his crew chief Garry Reinders, was more than happy to provide the rookie Toseland, who was working with Guy Coulon, with a helping hand along the way as the Englishman learned the ropes in MotoGP.

However, at the end of the season, with Edwards finishing seventh in the standings and Toseland’s form dipping in the second half of the year as he eventually finished eleventh, Tech 3 Yamaha manager Herve Poncharal received a request from Toseland to work with Reinders in his sophomore campaign.

Poncharal considered all options and spoke to all parties concerned before agreeing to the switch, which angered Edwards, prompting a number of outspoken comments from the American rider in recent weeks.

Having outperformed Toseland at the first test of the year in Sepang Edwards admitted that he was not talking to his team-mate and pointed out the significant difference in their lap times, with Toseland apparently slowed down by a first day crash.

As Poncharal explains, “Colin was not so happy because he thought he could have been more involved in the decision making process, but he accepted it. Since then Colin has had a dream start, as he had a great time in testing both in Jerez in November and then in Sepang with the new bike. He is very, very happy now.”

Explaining the logic behind the switch in the first instance Poncharal added, “I understood James’ point of view because Garry lives in England close to James, and he speaks better English than Guy. James and Garry spent a lot of time together last year traveling to and from England and James likes to talk to his crew chief in between races.”

Noting Edwards recent statements and what it means for the team Poncharal maintained a typically positive take on things, stating, “I can’t say too much about what Colin has said because those are his own views, but you always know that the first person a rider wants to beat is his own team-mate. James improved a lot last year, we think he has shown last year that he could be a podium contender in his second year with Tech 3, so they will try to beat each other and this is fun.”

Poncharal concluded, “If it gives extra motivation to James’ department and to Colin’s department I am absolutely happy. We will never see two riders going on holiday together because this is an individual sport. They respect each other still, ok they don’t talk anymore, but who cares? I wanted to give both of them the best support I could and that is what I have done.”

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