With the first 2003 MotoGP race arriving shortly on April 6, 2003 in Japan, you would think that all of the participating teams are well into testing and refining the bikes they will push to the grid that day. Harris WCM (a cooperative effort between Harris Performance Products and World Championship Motorsport), according to a report on the MotoGP website, is still building their first chassis and engine, hoping to get their first track time within the next couple of weeks.
Although, initially, Harris WCM indicated their MotoGP design would be based on Yamaha’s R1 (and contain “much modified R1 components”), they now indicate that the R1 is only “inspiration” for a ground-up prototype built completely by Harris.
The two riders listed by the FIM on the provisional grid for the 2003 MotoGP season aboard Harris WCM machines are Ralf Waldmann and Chris Burns.
World championship veteran Waldman (twice runner-up in the 250 GP series) is 36 years old, and he has experience in the premier class (aboard the three-cylinder Modenas in 1998) with Team Roberts.
Chris Burns, on the other hand, is a 22 year old without the experience of Waldmann, although he has found success both in Britian and Europe aboard four-stroke supersport machinery.
In charge of engine development is Dave Hagen, a respected British engineer with extensive race engine development and tuning experience.
With the MotoGP grid filled with a broad spectrum of teams, from the factory Honda team to the Harris WCM effort, we will witness first hand whether the smaller, less experienced and less well-financed teams can compete with the powerhouses of motorcycle racing.