MotoGP: 50-year-old Jeremy McWilliams prepares for one-off Moto2 race
This weekend at the Hertz British Grand Prix former premier class rider Jeremy McWilliams will return to the World Championship, making a wild card appearance in Moto2 for the Brough Superior Racing team.
Jeremy McWilliams has one MotoGP win to his name, in the 250cc class at the 2001 Dutch TT.
This weekend at the Hertz British Grand Prix, former premier class rider Jeremy McWilliams will return to the World Championship, making a wild card appearance in Moto2 for the Brough Superior Racing team.
The highly experienced 50 year-old’s last full Grand Prix season was 2004, whilst in 2005 he raced at Brno suffering a DNF on the Proton KR, and in 2007 he was at the Qatar Grand Prix but did not make the race with the Ilmor GP machine.
On this occasion, he will be hoping for a more successful outing on a Taylor Made Moto2 machine with the Brough Superior team, which has been developed, tested and raced in the United States.
On how his surprise wild card chance has come about, McWilliams revealed, “I got a call explaining that they had a prototype, they had an entry and they thought they had a rider already lined up, but then it looked like it might not happen with the rider they had already put forward. So firstly they asked me if I would be prepared to come and have a look at the bike, to test it and give them some feedback. The only test venue available was Mallory Park, which is a great little facility but perhaps it can’t give us all the feedback that we need on the bike.”
“Anyway we went to test the bike and things started coming together as the day went on. I started to become more confortable with the bike and started to understand how it works. It’s quite a new bike to me with the wishbone front end on it. Things happened very quickly from there, we had to make a decision based on that test.”
He continued, “I agreed to test again this week but it looks like that has become difficult because of the setup day on Wednesday and then the team will receive the new engine and put it into the chassis on Thursday. So we will arrive at Silverstone with very little testing under my belt on a very new prototype chassis that I don’t know a great deal about, but I did feel pretty comfortable at the end of the test at Mallory. So it looks like we will be using Friday and Saturday to be more at one with the bike, which is going to be a big ask, but that’s where we are.”
Explaining further on the approach he will take with the Brough Superior Racing team, McWilliams commented, “One of the test riders that I know quite well, Shawn Higbee, is coming over from the States and he will work with me on the bike. He knows the bike a lot better than I do and they have been reasonably successful with some testing and racing they have been doing in the States so they do have some experience under their belts. It’s just a matter of me really getting comfortable with the bike.”
Regarding his expectations for Silverstone, McWilliams stated, “My fitness levels are not going to be the same as they were in 2004 but they are not that different to when I was racing full time. I’ve kept myself reasonably fit but I can’t say I’m going to be as fit as Tito Rabat or Maverick Viñales! It’s not just about out and out fitness. Racing Moto2 certainly isn’t as physical as racing in MotoGP. It’s basically more having to get up to speed with guys who are in the middle of their championship. The corner speed is colossal in Moto2 and it’s really about racing a Moto2 bike the way these guys do.”
“The idea behind this project is that we take it to the next step, not getting too caught up in trying to come away with an absolutely stunning result. Although if we got into the top 20 that would make us very happy, but what we’re trying to do for Brough Superior and Taylor Made is get them to the next stage so they can go forward with development and hopefully race next year.”
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