John Surtees, the only person to win both the MotoGP World Championship and the Formula One World Championship, has revealed that he' 'might' try the Maxtra 125cc grand prix machine.
The 74-year-old, Patron of the Chinese-funded factory team which is due to make its GP debut in 2009, won seven motorcycle grand prix world championships in the 350 and 500cc classes between 1956 and 1960, before lifting the Formula One World Championship for Ferrari in 1964.
"I haven't sat astride the bike at all yet - I'm taking a back seat relative to the riding side," he wrote in Maxtra's website blog. "We'll leave that to the people of their time, and I'll try and give them as much support as I can from the experience I have had. When perhaps there is a spare bike available, then I might have a little try."
Instead, Surtees is leaving testing in the hands of experienced British 125cc rider Michael Wilcox.
"Michael would not be considered world class - he's too old for a start! - but he's an extremely experienced and very good rider, who gives good feedback," wrote Surtees. "We have a consistency throughout testing up to date, which I think has served well to give a basis of data for the further development that we are carrying out."
Surtees added that the Maxtra engine, designed by renowned Dutch engineer Jan Witteveen, will probably be available in several different specifications, to suit different circuit characteristics.
"On the engine side, I think there will probably be more than one specification to suit different characteristics of different tracks. It will be horses for courses. At this moment, it is a matter of evaluating," commented the Englishman.
"There are a number of stages in engine development, which will carry on right up into January before the final specification is confirmed. With a 125 machine, it is very important that you maximise every possible horsepower, and that the horsepower is in the right places. It may be that one configuration of the engine is more suitable for certain circuits than others."
Maxtra is yet to announce its 2009 rider line-up.