The Formula One engine designer Mario Illien is planning to break the Japanese and Italian domination of grand prix motorcycling and give Britain a championship-winning bike for the first time since the 1950s.
Illien, 57, has built an 800cc V4 motorcycle at Brixworth in Northamptonshire that will debut in the Portuguese round of the MotoGP series on 15 October. He will then launch a team for the 2007 season with the aim of challenging Yamaha, Honda and Ducati for the world title by 2010.
"We have demonstrated in Formula One and in the USA that we can do the job as well as larger organisations," Illien said yesterday. Ilmor engines designed by Illien have already won two Formula One titles with McLaren-Mercedes and 11 Indianapolis 500 races.
He hopes to recruit the MotoGP veterans Alex Barros and Max Biaggi to evaluate his bike in the last two rounds of this year's championship. The Swiss engineer Eskil Suter, who has worked with Kawasaki, designed the chassis.
Norton was the last UK manufacturer to win the premier class in grand prix racing, then for 500cc bikes, with Geoff Duke in 1951.