McCoy lured by Ilmor X factor

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Garry McCoy, a 34-year-old Australian who has previously won grand prix and world superbike races, has been named as the rider of the Ilmor X3, a new British motorcycle which will make its debut in the Portuguese MotoGP on 15 October.

McCoy, known for his spectacular sideways style, will also ride the 800cc V4 machine in the final MotoGP round of the season at Valencia on 29 October, before the factory enters a full two-rider team in 2007. "It's a real bonus for us to have a rider like Garry, who has won in 500cc GPs, to be on the bike for the two wild-card races in Europe," said the Ilmor designer Mario Illien, whose engines have already won two Formula One championships.

McCoy, who has previously ridden for Kawasaki and WCM in MotoGP, has already tested the Ilmor at Albacete and Barcelona, where the team claim that it lapped 0.4sec faster than a prototype 800cc Ducati which was being tested simultaneously.

"It's great to be back in MotoGP and riding a bike with this sort of horsepower and speed," McCoy said.

"But I'm not placing big expectations on the first two races, because the established teams have 20 per cent more engine performance because they are still running to the current rules." Existing MotoGP bikes have 990cc engines, but new rules designed to cut speed will limit them to 800cc next year.

Further good news for Ilmor is that Michelin, the most successful tyre manufacturer in the history of MotoGP, has agreed to supply them with tyres.