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Bridesmaid Ui has his eyes set on the big prize in the 125 class
Japanese rider Youichi Ui is convinced that this year he can achieve the goal that has narrowly escaped him for the past two seasons. The Derbi rider wants to become the 125cc World Champion in 2002 after twice finishing runner-up. Ui, who will once again race with number 41 plate adorning his front-faring, having stated he would only change it for the number 1 plate, is confident that this will be his year. 'Finishing runner-up twice is enough for any rider! I'm really looking forward to the new season, and hoping that it will be me who is eventually crowned champion. Over the last two seasons I have won 11 Grand Prix, that's about a third of all the races, but I've lacked consistency.'
Ui celebrates his thirtieth birthday in November, and this season will be racing against many riders who are significantly younger than him. Despite this, the Japanese star is convinced that his experience could prove a vital asset, 'Experience will be one of my weapons, but not the only one. I have to continue being as fast as I have been for the last two years, but also more consistent. Experience will play an important role, but one must remember that I am not the only older rider in the field. On the other hand, if I'm to beat the younger riders it will be important to keep my hunger and desire.'
Ui has been happy to help his new, young team-mate Jorge Lorenzo who will be making his debut in the World Championship this season. 'Despite being twenty-nine years old, I still feel like a fourteen year-old!' joked Ui. 'I will give Jorge all the advice he needs about being a rider. As concerns my possible championship rivals, Manuel Poggiali will be the main threat as he is in possession of the number one plate, and has the same equipment as me.'
15 years ago
15 years ago