Thursday, January 22, 2009

2009 MotoGP: Ilmor to work on privateer Kawasaki ZX-RRs?


While Kawasaki will not provide any parts or assistance to Bartholemy's proposed privateer MotoGP outfit, Ilmor might step in with their expertise...

Kawasaki’s immediate future in MotoGP is still uncertain. Team Green’s MotoGP team boss, Michael Bartholemy is reportedly in Japan right now, trying to figure out whether Kawasaki can still participate in the 2009 MotoGP world championship. With Dorna threatening to hit Kawasaki with a fine of around US$28 million if they pull out of MotoGP (Kawasaki had earlier committed to staying in MotoGP till 2011 at least…), the beleaguered bike manufacturer may also be looking for a middle path that gives them a way out of this mess.

The ‘middle path’ that may get the required minimum of 19 bikes on the 2009 MotoGP grid could be that Bartholemy runs a private team with two Kawasaki ZX-RRs, which would be ridden by Marco Melandri and John Hopkins. However, Kawasaki will not provide any support, and parts, development and everything else will be handled by Bartholemy.

Kawasaki test rider, Olivier Jacque has already been testing the 2009 prototype ZX-RR. And with regard to the requirement of parts and development, it’s now being said that British engineering firm – Ilmor – could step in with their expertise.

Based in Northamptonshire in the UK, Ilmor came to MotoGP for a brief period in 2006 and 2007, with their own racebike. However, due to a lack of funds, the company shut down its MotoGP operations in March 2007. Now, with Kawasaki ZX-RR machines up for grabs, Ilmor could possibly be back in MotoGP, supplying technical backup to Bartholemy’s privateer outfit. An Ilmor was the very first 800cc MotoGP machine to come to MotoGP, when Garry McCoy rode against 990cc machines towards the end of the 2006 season. We don’t know if a Kawasaki-Ilmor privateer team would have any success against factory Honda, Yamaha and Ducati bikes, but it’ll at least keep Kawasaki in MotoGP.

Kawasaki’s final decision is expected later this week, so stay tuned for more on this…

Also see:
Massive collection of 2008 MotoGP wallpaper...
Fast past: Gary Nixon rides the Kawasaki ZX-RR...
Face-off: 2009 Yamaha R1 vs 1990s Yamaha YZR500...!
Classic: The 200mph NSU 500 Kompressor...
Memorable: The Laverda 750 Formula S
Marco 'Crazy Horse' Lucchinelli, 1981 500cc motorcycle GP racing world champ...
Team Nescafe replica Yamaha YZF750SP...

Elsewhere today:
M├ętisse will build Steve McQueen’s bike for you...
V8-powered motorcycles from Sweden...

1 comment:

firebrand said...

I would love to see Ilmor back in the mix. I liked having the oddballs on the grid to make things interesting. What I miss in MotoGP today is variety.

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