“An extremely difficult decision to make”
In an unexpected move, the Ilmor GP team have announced their temporary withdrawal from the 2007 MotoGP World Championship with immediate effect.
The announcement was made on Thursday afternoon in an official statement from
the team, who listed lower than expected results and a lack of funding as the main reasons for the move.
Although Ilmor will take an indefinite break from competition, development of their engine will continue with a view to future reincorporation into the MotoGP lineup.
Team Principal Mario Illien released the following statement to the press: "We discussed the situation in great detail internally and obviously it was an extremely difficult decision for us to make. However once we went through all the options, we decided that the best course of action for the sake of the project as a whole would be to put the racing side of things on hold and continue developing.”
"I would like to thank Dorna, IRTA, FIM and our technical partners and suppliers for their on-going support and patience during this time. My heart is still very much in the team - we have had fantastic support from the public and the media with some great coverage worldwide. I would also like to say how enormously proud I am of what we managed to achieve in a short space of time - we have a good group of people who have worked incredibly hard over the past few months. Both riders, Jeremy McWilliams and Andrew Pitt have given their best during a difficult development time - I couldn't have asked for more than that.”
"We have important meetings and discussions over the next few weeks which will help us to establish the future of the project and team - I am determined to explore all opportunities available to us and I'm hopeful that there will be a positive outcome."
The Ilmor project was unveiled last year at Portugal, ahead of the penultimate Grand Prix of the 2006 season. With a pedigree in Formula 1, Mario Illien set out an ambitious project supported by a number of knowledgeable colleagues, and elected Garry McCoy as the first rider to participate in a race for the team. McCoy became the first rider to earn points with an 800cc bike, but was overlooked for a permanent position on the grid in favour of Andrew Pitt and Jeremy McWilliams for 2007.
Despite having a two rider lineup, the most part of development of the Ilmor bike has been carried out by Pitt, with McWilliams injured for a large part of pre-season and unable to compete in last week's season-opening Grand Prix in Qatar.
DORNA / CAPSIS International