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James Ellison - 2006 Rider Profile

2006 Rider Profiles
James Ellison

Few riders competing in MotoGP have endured as hard a fight to reach the premier class as Briton James Ellison, who joins the Tech3 Yamaha Team for the 2006 MotoGP World Championship, his third year in the premier class.

The younger of two racing brothers, James has fought against the odds to fulfill his dream of a factory ride, travelling around Europe in a van to gain experience and recognition in his chosen sport.

Born in the English Lake District in 1980, James has a strong background of racing 1000cc four-stroke machines. Starting out racing 80cc machines at the age of 15, Ellison worked his way through the lower ranks of British championship racing before finding his true calling in 1999, when he switched to four-strokes and finished 10th in the European superstock championship.

That was the start of Ellison's rise to the top. In 2000 he won two of the nine races to win the title with theTen Kate Honda team but, despite some impressive performances, no ride was forthcoming for the 2001 campaign. Showing remarkable resilience James, with the help of a small band of sponsors, bought a Suzuki GSX-R1000 and a van and travelled around Europe to defend his title. Despite living out of his van and barely having enough money to pay for the diesel to get from race to race, James utterly dominated the series, winning seven out of the nine races to take back-to-back titles.

Just as importantly, his success didn't go unnoticed. Kawasaki offered him the factory ride he desired, lining-up on a two-year deal alongside defending champion Andrew Pitt in their world supersport squad, but the dream turned into a nightmare and he finished 20th in the championship. Further disappointment came when Kawasaki pulled out of the championship at the end of the year, leaving young Ellison again without a ride.

That setback only galvanised James' never-say-die spirit. While 2003 was something of a nomadic year, James again added to his CV by helping the Phase One team win the endurance world title. He also got back in his van and entered the European superstock championship again - finishing third overall despite a serious lack of budget.

Although a return to the factory ranks was still not forthcoming in 2004, James accepted an offer from the private Jentin team to run a Yamaha YZF-R1 in the highly-competitive British superbike championship. Despite being one of the few riders on Pirelli tyres, James regularly run with the bigger-budget 'works' teams, finishing 11th overall and comfortably winning the parallel privateer cup for independent riders.

James' 2004 campaign also included two wild-card outings in the Superbike World Championship, at Silverstone and Brands Hatch. Running on the same control Pirelli rubber as his rivals, Ellison showed his pace by taking a fifth place in the second race at Brands.

Those performances were enough to convince Harris WCM boss Peter Clifford that Ellison was the man to stand in for an injured rider in the final races of the MotoGP 2004 season. A points scoring ride in Qatar served further notice that this was a rider with a big future, and it was no surprise when Clifford retained his services for the newly-christened Blata WCM squad in 2005.

Ellison again showed his fighting spirit to take his underpowered machine to seven world championship points. He also impressed many learned paddock personnel, including his Dunlop tyre technicians, with his hard and analytical riding. That has led to a call from Hervé Poncheral of the Tech3 Yamaha Team and with a Dunlop mounted YZR-M1 at his disposal, Ellison should be able to display his talents to a wider audience in 2006. Having worked so hard to get that coveted factory bike, James Ellison will be guaranteed to give 100 percent every time he gets on his M1.

Profile* Career highlights;

  • Date of birth: 19.09.1980
  • Place of birth: Lancaster, UK
  • Nationality: British
  • Height: 172 cm
  • Weight: 67 kg
  • Marital status: Single
  • Hobbies: Motocross, mountainbiking, jogging, swimming
  • Team: Tech3 Yamaha Team
  • Bike: YZR-M1
  • Grand Prix contested in total: 22
  • First Grand Prix: 2004
  • First race: 1995
  • Victories in total: 0
  • First victory: N/A
  • Podiums: 0
  • First podium: N/A
  • Pole positions: 0
  • First pole: N/A
  • World championship wins in total: 0
  • * correct as of 25.01.2006

  • 2006: Tech3 Yamaha Team, MotoGP World Championship
  • 2005: 23rd, MotoGP World Championship
  • 2004: 26th, MotoGP World Championship
  • 2003: World Endurance champion
  • 2002: 18th, World Supersport championship
  • 2001: European Stock Champion
  • 2000: European Stock Champion
  • 1999: 8th, 600cc European Supersport Champion
  • 1998: Amateur racing in 125cc and 500c classes