The rider line-up for the 2007 MotoGP season is all but complete. Only two seats remain unclaimed: Ilmor, the newcomer to MotoGP, has yet to announce who will be riding the Illien/Suter-developed Ilmor X3 bike for next season. Many names have been linked to the project, and a gaggle of riders have already tested the bike, but Ilmor have now announced that they will finalize the team at the Jerez tests from 28-30 November.
Ilmor will be present at Jerez with three riders: Jeremy McWilliams, Garry McCoy and Andrew Pitt. All three rode the bike during the tests at Valencia, and McCoy raced the X3 at the final two rounds of the 2006 season at Estoril and Valencia. So, who will it be?
McCoy seems to be the most obvious choice, as he has the most experience on the bike, and has already helped to develop it to its current state. He was previously involved in developing the Kawasaki, during the early stages of its existence, during which time he worked with Eskil Suter, as well as Harald Eckl, who is widely rumored to be joining Ilmor after being released by Kawasaki. The other rider to have worked with both Suter and Eckl is Andrew Pitt, who also spent a season aboard the Kawasaki, and showed a great deal of promise aboard the Yamaha R1 in World Superbikes, before being pushed aside to make way for Troy Corser. Jeremy McWilliams is the oldest and most experienced of the three, but his age could work against him. However, he has the advantage of being the only British rider, something which the BBC, which has the broadcast rights for MotoGP in the UK, is keen to see.