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MotoGP - British Ilmor GP Update - April 30th 2007


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    Today at the Ilmor Engineering factory in Northampton Illien and Managing Director Steve Miller announced that the Ilmor GP race team will be slimmed down to a 'skeleton' crew focusing on the continued development of the engine - as a consequence many of the original Ilmor GP team personnel will be released from their contracts from the end of May 2007 onwards and will be free to pursue other opportunities.

    Speaking about the announcement Illien said: "Whilst our commitment to finding a title sponsor and suitable Ilmor GP partners to make racing a viable financial option continues in full force, it is senseless to employ an entire race team when our track activity has ceased albeit on a temporary basis.

    "I know that it's hard for people to understand why we have stopped racing and some people have been quick to judge our withdrawal from the MotoGP World Championship but I remain upbeat and I still strongly believe that we will find a financial partner for the team. In the mean time we have to restructure and put in place a smaller team dedicated to engine development."

    "I attended the Dorna sponsorship workshop in Barcelona a couple of weeks ago and it is clear that further work needs to be done to make the sport more appealing to commercial partners" Illien added. "Key people outside of the sport don't really understand what MotoGP is and the fantastic opportunity it represents by association. I also think that people perhaps underestimated the impact that the decline in tobacco sponsorship would have on the sport. Added to this potential corporate sponsors are much more environmentally aware these days - I'm a strong believer that environmental issues and professional motorsport shouldn't be mutually exclusive. There are plenty of opportunities to be explored on this front."

    Whilst both Ilmor GP riders Jeremy McWilliams and Andrew Pitt remain under contract Illien has been happy to loan Pitt to World Superbike team Hannspree Ten Kate Honda for the race in Valencia whilst Frenchman Sebastien Charpentier recovered from his fractured coccyx and again this weekend in Assen as the team run a third bike at their home race.

    Commenting on the riders Illien said: "I'm pleased that Andrew performed so well in Valencia for Hanspree Ten Kate Honda, he demonstrates the flair and ability that we still believe he has. Both Andrew and Jeremy have done a fantastic job for Ilmor GP under difficult circumstances and I want to thank them for their on- going patience and understanding. If all goes to plan and we manage to secure the funding to get back out for the remainer of the 2007 season then of course I would love to have both riders back on board."