A few weeks ago, there was a flurry of excitement over the prospect of a brand new team and a brand new bike entering MotoGP, when the French site Moto Caradisiac announced that Gil Motorsport boss Jean Christophe Ponsson was about to enter the series. The team would be run using the existing Gil Motorsport structure - previously running in the World Supersport series - and field a new machine currently being designed by Eskil Suter, powered by a brand new V4 powerplant that is said to produce a class-leading 240 bhp.
There was reason to be a little sceptical about the reports - not least because the step up from running a World Supersport to running in MotoGP is a particularly large one, in terms of organization, engineering ability and sheer scale - and yet the consensus was to give the story the benefit of the doubt. Yesterday, however, news emerged that appears to justify the initial scepticism about the project. According to Moto Caradisiac, Gil Motorsport boss Ponsson had told the French site that he had spoken to no one less than MotoGP legend Kevin Schwantz, and that Schwantz had agreed to manage the team for the first two seasons.
This, it seemed to us, was asking us to suspend our disbelief just a little too much, and so we contacted Kevin Schwantz to ask if there was any truth to the reports. A spokesperson for Schwantz initially dismissed the reports as "a PR stunt", and then gave us a statement from Schwantz himself, which reads: "At this moment, I do not currently have an agreement to manage a team, whether in MotoGP, Moto2, or WSBK."
Schwantz' denial - or rather, the fact that Ponsson would claim that such a deal existed, which Kevin Schwantz would feel the need to deny - casts doubt on the validity of the entire project. If Jean Christophe Ponsson - who Moto Caradisiac describes as "flamboyant" - feels the need to apparently fabricate links to one of the most famous riders on the planet, links which are trivially easy to disprove, how seriously are we to take his other claims, that he will have two competitive riders on a competitive machine, and the team structure to run it for an entire season? We shall find out at the end of September. For then, according to the reports in the French press, Ponsson has said he will be making an official announcement on the future of the team, after he has garnered sufficient financial support for the team.
We, like fans and followers of the series everywhere, would dearly love to see more teams and a new manufacturer enter MotoGP. But whether this project is the one that we have been waiting for remains to be seen.