October 20, 2006 The goal was quite simply to finish the race for the first-time MotoGP team Ilmor SRT, but the Sultan of Slide, Garry McCoy, went one better putting in a consistent performance to bring the team its first Championship point. Given that it was the first 800cc capacity bike (built for 2007 regs), it suggests the 800cc MotoGP series next year might be even closer again. It’s a long way from challenging for the win, but such an impressive first up showing suggests the fledgling team will be a lot further up the field by the time the 2007 championship begins next year.
Ilmor and chassis designers Suter Racing Technology (SRT) have worked flat out over the weekend trying to achieve the best possible set up for the team's debut race in Portugal -Their hard work was rewarded this afternoon when the Ilmor crossed the finish line.
After starting McCoy made steady progress consistently improving his lap times then overtaking Spanish rider Jose Luis Cardoso. He then went on to slowly close in on Ellison before an electrical issue caused him to pull into the pitlane on lap 18 where the team took data from the bike before sending him back out. During the next lap, the team analysed the data and identified a faulty wheel speed sensor, McCoy came back in and the sensor was disabled before he rejoined the race.
Over the next few days McCoy continued to put the bike through its paces in Estoril as the team worked on increasing the bike's performance ahead of the series finale in Valencia at the end of October.
Garry McCoy was his usual relaxed "I think I could have had a better start, it definitely wasn't my best however as we went in to turn one all the guys were bunched up anyway which meant I could get on the back of them right away. Before too long I experienced the chattering that we had yesterday but I tried to keep a consistent and steady pace. I managed to build up some speed and even managed to pass Cardoso before I had to take the bike in to the pit lane for adjustments - after that my mission was just to finish the race, to bring Ilmor a point is an even bigger bonus. We have some work to do before Valencia but I'm looking forward to seeing what we can do there."
Mario Illien, Owner, Ilmor: "Firstly I'm happy we finished to be honest, it was a real shame about the electrical issue but I am very pleased about the point. Garry put in a consistent performance and I want to say congratulations to the whole team, they have done a fantastic job this weekend. We have a long way to go but we are learning the whole time. We have some testing time before Valencia so hopefully we'll be in better shape in two weeks time!"
Eskil Suter, Owner, and CEO Suter Racing Technology: "It's good to finish but the race definitely didn't go as planned. The most important thing is that we finished and we scored a point. I'm disappointed that we had the electrical problems but we will work hard over the next few days with testing and let's see what we can do in Valencia. I want to say thank you to the whole crew and Garry for their efforts, they have performed really well."
Steve Miller, Managing Director Ilmor: "After Garry overtook Cardoso, he was slowly gaining on Ellison, I would have really loved to have seen how close he could have got - sadly it wasn't to be and we really suffered with the wheel speed sensor problem. It's great to finish the race so from that point of view I'm pleased. We have a lot of work to do during the testing time between now and Valencia so we can come back with a little more speed!"