Tuesday, December 19, 2006

MotoGP: McWilliams and Pitt Confirmed at Ilmor

Ilmor have confirmed that their 2007 MotoGP rider line-up will be Jeremy McWilliams and Andrew Pitt. The press release is reprinted with analysis by Kropotkin.
This is the line-up that had long been rumoured, with Garry McCoy being sidelined despite his work for the team in the last couple of races of 2006, where he scored Ilmor's first world championship points. The Ilmor rumours had been silly even by the standards of Silly Season, with young Welshman Chaz Davies being flown to the last test at short notice, but getting virtually no time on the misbehaving bike. Who knows what shenanigans were going on behind the scenes, with Dorna and Ilmor negotiating over money and riders?
Although some people are pointing out that McWilliams will be by far the oldest rider in MotoGP, the Ulsterman has proven to be faster than both McCoy and Pitt in testing. What more could a team want? As Bayliss and Capirossi have shown, if you're quick enough, you're young enough. It seems that the reason for the delay in announcing the rider line-up was that McWilliams had badly broken his leg in a massive testing crash, and Ilmor wanted to be sure that he would make a full recovery, as he seems to be doing.
It's very unfortunate for Garry McCoy. The little Aussie had done nothing wrong, which must make it harder for him psychologically than his usual method of losing a ride: a massive highside followed by an ambulance ride to hospital and several months of recuperation.
His fellow Aussie Andrew Pitt is clearly over the moon at his return to MotoGP machinery (having previously ridden for the Kawasaki team). Pitt and McWilliams are both known for being very down to earth characters, and should be a good duo for the Ilmor team as they try to find some speed in the currently unimpressive X3 machine.

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