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Haslam on the road and feeling fit for 250

Haslam on the road and feeling fit for 250

Haslam on the road and feeling fit for 250

I had my first test on the 250 in Almeria at the end of January and I was very pleased with the results. It was just a shakedown really, there were a few mechanics missing and we were on last year's bikes but my Chief Mechanic, George Vukmanovich, was there and we got through plenty of work on things like suspension settings. My first impressions of the team were good, George is a very experienced guy and I'm sure that I will learn a lot from him throughout the course of this season.

It was the first time I'd ever ridden a 250 so everything was completely new to me, but in my team-mate Jay Vincent I have a top 250 rider as a reference and I just tried to match him in everything he did. In the end I was only a couple of hundredths of a second off him and setting the same sort of laps as I did in my first test there on a 500, so I have to be pleased. The important thing though was to get a feel for the machine and start to define a few objectives.

I'm currently on my way down to Valencia for the IRTA tests which take place this weekend. It will be good to get on the same track as the guys I'm going to be racing against this year but, as I say, my main focus after just one test is to get to know the team and the bike before the season starts. We will have the new kitted machines for the first time so we will have a lot of work to do setting them up.

It's very early to be setting targets for myself but I think that by the time we get to the third race of the season we should be at 100% and ready to compete consistently for top ten places. There are lots of good Aprilia guys out there but my target is to show that I am the best non-official Honda rider and I'm confident I can be up with the front runners. Haruchika Aoki will be developing the new Honda, which in principal should be quicker than mine, but I raced him a few times last year when we were both on V2's and I know I can beat him man to man.

I have done a lot more physical preparation this season than ever before and feel much stronger. Last year I was impeded by injuries, breaking my wrist and my collarbone, and was probably never really at 100%. This year I've been out doing motocross events with British Supersport Champion Karl Harris and other friends up and down the country and generally intensifying my fitness levels. Hopefully I can stay free of injuries over the upcoming tests and with a bit of luck arrive at the first race in Suzuka in the best possible conditions.

Speak to you soon,


250cc, 2001

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