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Battaini stepping into the limelight as 250 title contender

Battaini stepping into the limelight as 250 title contender

Battaini stepping into the limelight as 250 title contender

After five full seasons in the 250 World Championship, Franco Battaini believes he is finally ready to step into the limelight and establish himself as a title contender in 2002. The Italian, who set the provisional pole time at the first race in Suzuka before suffering mechanical problems in final qualifying, has just two podium finishes to his name but is confident of adding to that tally this weekend in South Africa, as he explained to motograndprix.com.

`I think the difference this year is my machine,´ explains Battaini, who rides an Aprilia. `It is not an official bike but my team are working extremely hard. We were very quick in Japan although I had a few problems during the race and wasn´t able to finish higher than tenth. Still, if we can maintain the level of performance we showed there then I think we can do well at all the races and challenge the factory guys for the title.´

`Because I know the bike is better this gives me more confidence and I feel stronger than ever from a psychological point of view. It is all in my head. Welkom is a very difficult circuit but we feel we can do well. What is fantastic for me is that this team is prepared to work hard. We will see where it takes us but as far as I am concerned this is the most important thing.´

Tags:
250cc, 2002, Africa's Grand Prix

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