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Sebastian Porto explains his plans for the future with Yamaha from an Argentina shrouded in crisis
Argentine rider, Sebastian Porto is currently enjoying a family holiday in his hometown of Rafaela in the Santa Fe province, before travelling to Spain to begin testing with his new Petronas Sprinta team. Although Rafaela has missed out on the high drama witnessed in Buenos Aires on our television screens recently, the political instability and its economic and social repercussions that have hit Argentina, have also affected Porto personally.
´From a personal point of view, it hurts me a great deal to see what´s going on, because I love my country. Currently in Argentina, there are many people suffering, and all we can do is work, unite and struggle to overcome these difficult times. Here in Rafaela you can sense the fear too. Up until a year ago the crisis was more notable in Buenos Aires, at least in its most apparent signs, but now, these signs are everywhere.´
Porto only has a few days in his country, because next week he will travel to Spain to join up with his new squad and begin the pre-season testing. ´At the end of the month I have my first test session with my new team in Jerez. While here, apart from enjoying seeing my family, I have taken the opportunity to do some physical training in the gym and have tried to get my fitness back.´
The 23 year-old is happy with his new team, where he should benefit from a higher quality machinery than he did last year with Yamaha Kurz. ´I was in Japan in December, at private tests in Suzuka. It was the first time I met the Petronas Sprinta team and I got a good impression straight away. I know the person who will be my Chief Mechanic very well, and I have spoken with all the team beforehand in the paddock. As regards the bike, I will be continuing with Yamaha of course, but it is completely different to the kit I am familiar with. The chassis has various settings and I will have to get used to them before the first race.´
Disappointed by last season´s results, which took him to 16th overall in the Championship, Sebastian Porto is convinced that in 2002 he could play a much more important role in the Championship. ´Last year was very complicated. Halfway through the year the results just stopped coming, the bike kept breaking down... but you have to turn over the page. Now I am in a serious project with a factory bike, and I believe that 2002 is going to be an important year for me. The objective is to be at the front, and they have promised me that they will give me all the means to achieve this. The team is really working hard to make the bike competitive, and they have a year´s experience with it. On my behalf I must bring the experience I have gained in racing and take the opportunity to ride with an official bike after so many years with kitted and standard machines´.
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