McWilliams’ 2002 deal collapses

Published: 04 November 2001

Jeremy McWilliams is facing another uncertain winter after negotiations to sort out a works 250 deal in 2002 collapsed.

McWilliams and his team enjoyed instant success in 2001 when he became Britain’s first GP winner in 15 years with victory in the Dutch GP at Assen. A brief lull in results that was compounded by a bad break of his right shoulder at the British GP meant McWilliams finished sixth in the championship.

" It’s all gone wrong in the last couple of days, " said McWilliams at the Rio GP, " It makes it pretty hard to concentrate on riding, with that on your mind. "

His team boss Stappert had been planning a two-rider team, with McWilliams joined by an Italian rider nominated by a new sponsor. However, the sponsors stood Stappert up at a crucial meeting this week, and the deal appears to have collapsed.

" They just didn’t turn up for the meeting, and now we’re about 900,000 Euros short for even a one-rider team, " said McWilliams.

" I keep hearing from journalists that I’m down to ride the Aprilia four-stroke in the Moto-GP class – but Aprilia haven’t said anything to me about it. I hope to be riding for Aprilia in some class or another – though I’d prefer MotoGP.

As yet Aprilia have made no announcement about who it will field in its two-rider works team in 2002. McWilliams may be back in the frame after it was confirmed in Rio that Roberto Rolfo, who was a hot tip for one of the Aprilia berths, is in fact jumping ship to Honda. The hugely impressive Italian has landed a dream ticket with the Telefonica MoviStar squad replacing world champion Daijiro Katoh, who is on his way to riding a works 500.

Rumours suggest that Aprilia doesn't feel its new four-stroke will be ready in time for the start of next season, and that it may field two 500 V-twins as a stop gap for the first couple of GPs of 2002.