New to motogp.com?Register here
McWilliams looks to stand tall in the face of the 4-stroke hurricane
The dominant display put on by Valentino Rossi, and to a lesser extent his Honda team-mate Tohru Ukawa, at the recent IRTA test session in Catalunya has considerably upped the stakes in MotoGP´s elite category. While the Yamaha, Suzuki and Aprilia models might not have scaled the heights of their Honda counterpart at Montmelo, it is clear that the 4-stroke revolution will add a new dimension to this season´s racing. Jeremy McWilliams, who will be aboard the lightweight 3-cylinder Proton KR3 this term, has been going well in pre-season tests, but the British rider acknowledges that staying in touch with the new breed is going to be no easy task.
´We´re just trying to keep up really!´, remarked the championship´s elder statesman after the IRTA test session in Catalunya. ´It´s funny because when I´m out on the track the bike actually looks quite similar to V4 (2-stroke) Yamaha, and that´s the idea really, I can only use them as my gauge to see how quick I´m going. When we get on to the straights here the 4-strokes just clear off which is a little bit annoying but I think we´ve just to hope that they´re not going to work everywhere, and that there will be times when we can get in amongst them and obviously beat them.´
McWilliams finished the two-day session at the Montmelo circuit a respectable 12th fastest, and while wary of the power of the new big bores, the 37 year-old was far from downbeat. ´Barcelona is one of these circuits that has a few straights on it and I think before we came here we knew it was going to be hard. What´s strange is that the Yamaha (M1) is nearer the front of the queue here whereas down in Estoril it found it hard. Hopefully that´ll be the pattern for the year, that at the twistier and tighter circuits they 4-strokes will find it tough. Obviously we´ve seen what the Honda is capable of, but I´m hoping that the Suzuki and Aprilia are going to struggle a bit.´
´Beyond that you´ve got people like Capirossi and Barros who are pretty much a known quantity, and that´s really what I´ve got to set my goals on, trying to stay with those guys on the 2-strokes´, added the popular Team Roberts rider.