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Alex Barros returns to the scene of his last victory

Alex Barros returns to the scene of his last victory

Alex Barros returns to the scene of his last victory

Last year I had a bad start to the season and my victory at Mugello was actually my first good race of the campaign. This time around things are a little different because I had a good performance in Jerez, when I fought in the lead group throughout the race, and generally my performances have been of a higher standard. The problem, of course, is that with the arrival of the four strokes the level of competition is much higher.

Once again it will be difficult for us to ride with the four-strokes at this circuit, but in my opinion nothing is impossible. I remember in 1997 I was riding the twin cylinder Honda and I fought with Alex Criville for fourth place, so in relative terms there is no reason why I cannot be at the front on the 500 against these bigger, heavier bikes. Staying with them is one thing, but beating them is another.

You will have probably seen in the race at Jerez that I was able to stay with Ukawa and Rossi for most of the lap, closing right in on the final corners but then being blown away down the straight. There were even times when I knew I could pass Valentino but what was the point? There was no way I could hold him off down the straight and dicing with other riders uses rubber. As it was I was riding on the limit and by the end of the race my tyres were spent and I could not fight for the podium.

Staying with the front guys is not why we race - we race to win and we will do that every time we are out on the circuit. I am a very positive person but I think we have to accept that our best chance of beating the four-strokes will be in the rain. We didn´t go so well in wet conditions at Suzuka but we have made a lot of progress in Michelin tests at Clermont-Ferrand and I would be very confident if it rained here, like it did last year.

We are coming up to a series of circuits which I like, and where I believe the two-strokes can cause some upsets, such as Assen, Donington and Sachsenring. It is a tricky situation but we will remain positive and hopefully with the support of the fans we can achieve some more good results before the end of the season.

MotoGP, 2002, Gran Premio Cinzano d'Italia, Alex Barros

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