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Experienced heads boost MotoGP average age

Experienced heads boost MotoGP average age

This week's provisional announcement of the 2007 MotoGP World Championship entry list by the FIM provides an opportunity to compare this year's group of competitors with the line-up as announced this time last year.

This week's provisional announcement of the 2007 MotoGP World Championship entry list by the FIM provides an opportunity to compare this year's group of competitors with the line-up as announced this time last year.

The most obvious difference is an increased number of riders this season, as Ilmor GP officially join the MotoGP family and the grid grows from 19 regular riders in 2006 to 21 this season.

Additionally, the average age of the competitors has also risen to 28.5 years of age, from 26.6 in 2006. New arrivals Ilmor are represented by 31 year old Australian Andrew Pitt and the vastly experienced Northern Irishman Jeremy McWilliams, who at 42 is unsurprisingly this year's oldest rider.

Indeed, at six years McWilliams' junior, Alex Barros of course returns to the MotoGP stage with Pramac d'Antin Ducati contributing to a trend for experience over youth in 2007.

Of four new arrivals only one is a MotoGP rookie, with Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3's relatively experienced 24 year old Frenchman Sylvain Guintoli graduating after several seasons in the 250cc category.

By contrast, last season witnessed the arrival of four rookies, with Spanish youngster Dani Pedrosa, the youthful Australian pair of Casey Stoner and Chris Vermeulen and the now 26 year old Randy de Puniet debuting as regular riders in 2006.

Pedrosa himself is one of a reduced Spanish contingent in the 2007 entry list alongside Carlos Checa and Toni Elias. The number of Spaniards drops from five to three after the retirement of Ducati rider Sete Gibernau and the departure of Jose Luis Cardoso from the MotoGP scene.

Spanish was the most popular nationality on the 2006 grid, but Nicky Hayden, Colin Edwards Kenny Roberts Jr and John Hopkins now make the USA the most widely represented nation.

Meanwhile, the French contingent grows from one to three with Olivier Jacque nominated as a Kawasaki regular alongside De Puniet and the aforementioned Guintoli joining his compatriots in the premier class.

The amount of Italian (3), Japanese (2), German (1) and British (1) riders remains the same, with McWilliams replacing James Ellison as he only regular British rider, while the arrival of Pitt increases the Australian representation from two to three and Barros logically increases the Brazilian presence by one.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2007

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