MotoGP: Maxtra 125 project gathers pace

New chassis geometry and an all-new engine for Chinese-backed 125 GP team

Team Maxtra looks on course for 2009

GARRY TAYLOR leader of the Chinese-backed Maxtra 125 project, visited the Misano paddock on the first day of practice, looking to recruit riders for the machine’s GP debut next year.

Meantime the motorcycle was undergoing a second two-day test at the Adria circuit south of Venice, from where Taylor and chassis manufacturers Harris reported highly encouraging results. Now with two machines to test, with two engine variations, test rider Michael Wilcox had run some 80 laps on each day.

“We’re not race ready yet, obviously. But we’re well on target for our debut next season, and everybody is very happy. We made a lot of progress and the engine proved fast and reliable,” said Taylor. “The bike was significantly faster all round.”

Taylor would give no clue about a potential rider. “I spoke to several riders’ representatives,” he said. “There is a lot of interest in the project.”

Chassis man Lester Harris outlined a raft of development changes suggested by the previous tests. One requirement had been to improve airflow and engine cooling. “We altered the fairing, the front mudguard, the radiator, the airbox, the exhaust routing and the footrest positions, based on what we learned last time,” said Harris.

“On the chassis geometry side, we have been able to narrow down the limits of adjustability. There is more to be done, but we have achieved what we wanted at these tests. The rider was very happy and confident, and was able to start pushing harder and thinking about the finer details of the performance.”

The next tests for the machine, using a novel engine design with a downward-inclined cylinder designed by ex-Aprilia chief designer Jan Witteveen, are scheduled for later in September.