“A worthwile exercise”
Despite being hampered by uncharacteristically bad weather Ilmor GP's first outing of 2007 still resulted in significant progress at the southern Spanish circuit of Almeria this weekend.
The team elected to miss the first two MotoGP tests of
the year in Sepang and Philip Island instead focusing on getting the bikes ready for a quick European test before heading out to join the rest of the MotoGP fraternity in Sepang for the second Malaysian test next week.
The team have been working hard since the November test in Jerez to improve the engine calibration and further increase the bikes control and rideability – this weekend demonstrated that the team had made a positive step forward as Australian rider Andrew Pitt put the bike through it's paces amid the unusual snow ridden setting.
Following his crash in Jerez in November Andrew's team mate Jeremy McWilliams continues to make good progress with his recovery and hopes to join the team in Qatar during the test in February.
Andrew Pitt, Ilmor GP Rider: “It was an unusual test for me, it was snowing as I was out on track. It was very cold and too dangerous to really push things but we made some good progress on the engine side of things. I felt more in control of the bike which given the delicate conditions says a lot. I'm looking forward to getting out to Sepang and seeing what we can do in much more favourable circumstances.”
Mike Janes, Ilmor GP Team Manager: “It was without doubt a worthwhile exercise. The workload we have had since Jerez has been enormous and we have had to really focus on getting the new team ready for this season.
It was unfortunate that we couldn't make it to Sepang earlier this month or Philip Island but it was great to see everyone working together despite the awful weather conditions.”
“After some extensive dyno work back at Ilmor, I feel that we have made a big step forward in terms of the engine calibration – the difference between the bike in Jerez and the bike we have out here in Almeria is very significant. The overall engine response is more predictable and controllable.”
“The acid test for us will be Sepang next week when we have something more tangible to compare ourselves to. The track conditions should be such that it will be more conducive to good track testing and with Andrew able to push the bike out there, we'll be able to continue along our learning curve in preparation for the forthcoming season.”