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Jeremy McWilliams signs for Aprilia

Jeremy McWilliams signs for Aprilia

Jeremy McWilliams signs for Aprilia

After several weeks of negotiations Jeremy McWilliams has finally put pen to paper with Aprilia contest the 2004 MotoGP World Championship with the Italian factory. The 39 year old will partner rookie Shane Byrne in an all British line-up, after two seasons with the Proton Team KR outfit run by Kenny Roberts. McWilliams had been close to signing a new deal with Roberts but doubts over their future tyre partners prompted the opportunist offer from Aprilia, who have secured the immediate future of their continued relationship with Michelin.

"It feels like I'm back with my old family and I'm really up for the fight next year," explained McWilliams, who signed a one year contract with the option of another year at the Noale factory on Friday. "It has taken a while to sort out and it wasn't as cut and dried as many people have been saying, but I'm very excited about rejoining a factory team like Aprilia.

"I've had a look at the bikes before they set off for Valencia for the test next week and they're impressive. Unfortunately I won't be at the test but I'll be speaking to Shane Byrne and the test rider Marcelino Lucchi. I'm sure that between us we can make the bike competitive especially as we are using Michelin tyres. It's just a great move for me and I'm absolutely delighted."

McWilliams has a close relationship with Aprilia and in particular with Technical Director Jan Witteveen after several seasons together in the 250cc and 500cc classes. During the 2000 season he took a memorable podium finish at Donington Park when he challenged Valentino Rossi for victory riding the V-twin 500, before clinching his first ever victory on a 250 in the Dutch TT at Assen a year later. The veteran racer also runs an Aprilia dealership in his home town of Belfast.

MotoGP, 2003

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