Maxtra 125GP boss happy with progress

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Maxtra 125GP team boss Garry Taylor has declared himself satisfied with progress so far on the Chinese-backed world championship venture.

The former factory Suzuki MotoGP team chief though admits there is still plenty of work to do on the project, which is being spearheaded by British racing legend John Surtees.

Preparing for its debut campaign in the 2009 125GP series, Taylor said: “I feel we're on target at the moment. Step by step the racing team has been coming together, along with the motorcycle. The two test days at Valencia in November were a big landmark.

"We had almost the whole 2009 team together for the first time - the Chinese factory engineers and race department head Simon Wei, the pit staff, and our first new rider.

"Engine and chassis designers Jan Witteveen and Harris Performance were also at the track, as well as team patron John Surtees.  And it was the first time we had an experienced grand prix rider in the saddle, at a circuit with the people and machines we will be racing against next year.

"It was the first chance to get a direct yardstick against the current cream of the crop, to check our own progress. As we knew, there is still lots to do with the engine and chassis. That's quite normal with an all-new machine in the early stages of development.

"The 125 class is the most competitive of them all in MotoGP, and we're facing the best bikes and riders in the world. I'm certainly not going to make any foolhardy predictions. Time is always the enemy in racing, in every sense. Looking back, we've pulled everything together.

"I must say that all the groundwork was a lot harder and more time consuming than I could have imagined, with a lot of frustration. You just have to be patient. Looking back, and looking ahead, we've made a lot of progress and we're still going forward.

The target is simple, to be as best prepared as possible for the first race in Qatar in April next year.”

Taylor said he was happy with new rider Michael Ranseder though he has yet to officially confirm British rider Matt Hoyle as the number two.

Hoyle’s name appeared on provisional entry list released yesterday (Tuesday) but Taylor said: “Michael Ranseder formed an immediate rapport with his new race engineer, the very experienced Trevor Morris. I was pleased to see how this all-important relationship got off to a good start.

"He and the other new rider (no announcement yet, but it's all coming together nicely) will have the backing of some of the most experienced racing people in the paddock. To me, it says a lot that team staff of this calibre have been willing to commit to this project.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt