Ending months of speculation, Mario Illien, Ilmor GP Team Owner today announced that Jeremy McWilliams and Andrew Pitt will make up the team's 2007 line up.
Despite his crash in Jerez back in November where he suffered a fractured left femur McWilliams is well on the way to recovery, both he and ex-Kawasaki rider Pitt spent time today at the teams engineering facility in Northampton discussing plans for 2007.
Both riders are familiar with the Ilmor X³ SRT having tested the bike in Jerez and in Valencia after the final of the MotoGP World Championship. The riders were selected for not only their proven riding skills but the invaluable experience they will bring to the team.
At 42 Irishman McWilliams is one of the sports most experienced riders and his team mate 32 year old Australian Pitt has clocked up his fair share of miles with Kawasaki and more recently Yamaha. At this crucial stage in the X³'s development, the team believe it's important crucial to have riders who have the ability to assist with perfecting the ultimate race set-up of the bike.
Jeremy McWilliams: "I'm very pleased to be part of a new team and obviously I'm delighted to be back in MotoGP. Now, with Mario and Ilmor it's a very different situation - having spent some time with him and the team his passion and dedication is evident everywhere, especially at the facility in Northampton - you can see that he's not a man who's used to coming second. He takes his racing incredibly seriously, he's a legend and whilst I know his expectations in terms of hard work are high he's realistic about what we can achieve over the next year.
"We have a brand new bike and very little testing time - I think we have a very good product to work with but there is a lot of developing that needs to be done. It's going to take time and it's going to be hard but I'm really looking forward to it, at the end of the day, that's what MotoGP is all about - it's hard work - if it was easy, everyone would be doing it!"
Mario Illien, Team Owner: "As a fledgling team, the main reason behind signing McWilliams and Pitt was for their skills in further developing the overall bike package and making us more competitive as team. Both riders come well equipped with a huge amount of experience to bring to the team as we start out. I've said since the beginning of this project that we are on a steep learning curve and I believe that McWilliams and Pitt will really help us begin to make our mark on the grid. "