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De Puniet reacquaints himself with the podium in front of his home fans

De Puniet reacquaints himself with the podium in front of his home fans

De Puniet reacquaints himself with the podium in front of his home fans

After an apprenticeship year in the 250 class last term, which was characterised as much by errors as it was by displays of quality, Randy de Puniet seemed to have moved on to a new level since the start of the 2002 campaign… that was until a fall in Jerez brought him quite literally back down to earth. However, that incident failed to dent the confidence of the French Campetella Racing rider.

Determined to put in a good display in his ´home´ Grand Prix, de Puniet shone in the qualifying sessions, taking second place on the starting grid behind Fonsi Nieto, and that performance only served to heighten French expectation for the race on Sunday. But as de Puniet himself now recognises, he was almost trying too hard early on. ´I got off to a good start, but I was too fired up and trying to push and I made a mistake. After that I said to myself; the most important thing is to settle myself and make sure I finish the race.

More prudent after his early scare, de Puniet did not throw himself into a forlorn charge to try and catch the factory Aprilias, instead opting to concentrate on his own race. ´Marco Melandri and Fonsi Nieto managed to get away. I did everything I could to try and go with them, but I also had to watch out for the attack from Locatelli towards the end. I rode a good race and got on to the podium in front of my home crowd which is a really great result for me.´

With this latest result, de Puniet has confirmed his position in the top five of the provisional championship standings, but moreover he left Le Mans with confidence sky high. ´I´m not thinking about the championship´, he commented. ´I´m pleased to have got a good result in front of my home fans, especially after my crash in Jerez, and I´m hoping to carry on in this vein´.

Tags:
250cc, 2002, Polini Grand Prix de France

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