Ilmor Unveil MotoGP Machine at Estoril

Press release/photo courtesy of motogp.com

More light was shed on one of the most exciting MotoGP stories of the year this afternoon, when the Ilmor team held a press conference to unveil the bike with which they will make their World Championship debut in the final two races of 2006. The press room at the Estoril circuit was packed to the rafters with journalists and members of rival teams, as they heard from the men behind the radically designed X3 machine: Mario Illien, Eskil Suter, Steve Miller and their rider for these two events, former GP winner Garry McCoy. Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna Sports, also welcomed the project into MotoGP.

The X3 is a V4 800cc machine, and is being run in preparation for next year's change in regulations when the premier class of MotoGP will see maximum engine capacity reduced from 990cc. Famed for his high performance car engines which have seen him win many races in the past, Mario Illien in particular seemed excited about the challenge ahead. The Swiss engineer warned however, "Don't expect too much from us in these two races." He also made public plans to have two riders on the grid next year, depending on sponsorship deals that have yet to be finalised.

The project's experience in motorcycles comes from former 250cc rider and chassis engineer Eskil Suter, who previously designed frames for Kawasaki. Meanwhile McCoy, the experienced Australian who won in Portugal six years ago in the premier class, will be key to the team's development in the final races of the 2006 season. Ilmor Managing Director Steve Miller was also on hand to unveil the new bike.

Mario Illien - Owner, Ilmor Engineering

"Over the years I have closely followed MotoGP, I had an interest in it and always tried to attend at least a couple of races every season - I was instantly fascinated by the sport and the technology the teams use, for me it was particularly interesting when the teams switched to four-stroke engines, so it's something I have always liked and I was looking for a way to participate. I would like to thank Carmelo Ezpeleta (CEO Dorna) for giving us this fantastic opportunity to come here with the X3, it's very early in the project programme for us and we are on a steep learning curve so please don't expect too much - we are here in Estoril this weekend to learn and most importantly prepare ourselves for next year to be as competitive as possible."

Carmelo Ezpeleta - CEO Dorna Sports

"For us the presentation of Ilmor as a new MotoGP team is very important. I have been talking with Mario about this for years and I even visited the Ilmor facility in Northampton - I was so impressed by the quality and the technology they have there but I wasn't surprised given Ilmor's background in other motorsports. It's a very important moment for MotoGP, Ilmor is a very prestigious engineering company to have taken the decision to come to MotoGP and we wish them all the best. Of course they have a lot of hard work ahead of them compared to the well established teams but given all of Ilmor's experience I think they will have a good chance next year to battle the other teams, to be in the middle or maybe even better than that. I wish them all the best."

Garry McCoy - Rider

"I'm really happy that Ilmor has given me the opportunity to be here, they needed someone with a bit of experience and hopefully we can develop the bike together and put it where it needs to be. It's early days and we're just going to go out there and do the best we can, we will continue developing and testing to get it perfect. The bike is so different, there's really nothing else out there that compares to it."

Miller, McCoy, Suter, Ezpeleta and Illien unveil the X3