New Maxtra 125cc unveiled at Shanghai

CHINESE CHALLENGER BREAKS NEW GROUND Shanghai, China: The new Chinese Maxtra 125 GP racer launched at Shanghai today is a well-supported and high-level challenge to the European factories currently in control of the highly competitive smallest...

CHINESE CHALLENGER BREAKS NEW GROUND

Shanghai, China: The new Chinese Maxtra 125 GP racer launched at Shanghai today is a well-supported and high-level challenge to the European factories currently in control of the highly competitive smallest class of motorcycle Grand Prix racing. Big names and innovative design have combined with China's foremost factory to make a pretty but purposeful-looking prototype, ready for an intensive test programme before making a full GP debut in 2009.

Haojue currently make more than 3-million motorcycles per annum. The entry of such a large factory to GP racing is significant in industry terms. Haojue chose the Maxtra name for their new racer to suit international markets, in line with future plans.

The official unveiling of the new Maxtra 125 GP racer, at the Grand Prix of China, saw motor racing legend John Surtees take to the stage, along with engine and chassis designers Jan Witteveen and Steve Harris, new Haojue Racing Team managing director Simon Wei and team consultant Garry Taylor.

Seven-times World Champion (and once Formula One champion) Surtees was a founder member of the project, which gives the massive Chinese factory a short cut to top European racing technology. The long-term aim is to integrate factory engineers to the racing team, for a future full factory race department.

Surtees recalled his racing days in the 1960s. "That was when the Japanese industry first came to world attention via GP racing. The Maxtra has many echoes of those times," he said. The new machine has innovative engine architecture, with the single cylinder pointing downwards at about 45 degrees. This gives new opportunities to improve both intake and exhaust. There is more space for an airbox, enhancing the effectiveness of the ram-air intake system. The exhaust also has a free run to the rear of the machine.

For the first version of the engine, Witteveen has chosen reed-valve induction, accepting a trade-off in top-end power for better overall responses. "I think it will be a good solution," he said.

Former long-term Suzuki MotoGP team manager Garry Taylor co-founded the project after retirement from active team management. He described how his and the manufacturer's aims coincided. "We all want to become competitive with a fully original machine," he said.

"The 125 class is no picnic, but our aim is to challenge for wins in the second year and the championship in the third," he said.

The Maxtra engine has already undergone successful bench tests. A track test programme begins in the coming weeks with shake-down tests in Britain, followed by a full development programme in Europe.

-credit: maxtra

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Series MotoGP
Drivers John Surtees