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Jakub Smrz enjoying the 250 challenge in Rio

Jakub Smrz enjoying the 250 challenge in Rio

Jakub Smrz enjoying the 250 challenge in Rio

Jakub Smrz faces the biggest challenge of his career this weekend as he makes his first appearance in the 250 class at the Cinzano Rio Grand Prix. The Czech rider replaces Jarno Janssen in the DeGraaf Grand Prix team and will ride as team-mate to Haruchika Aoki for the remainder of the season.

`This is a fantastic opportunity for me and when I found out about the deal last week I could hardly sleep!´, beams the 19 year old. `Obvisouly the bike is a lot bigger than the 125 but that suits me because I am a tall guy and it is more comfortable for me. It is a great experience riding with Haru. My head is full of lots of different things at the moment but I have asked him plenty of questions already – I´m sure there will be plenty more! This weekend I need to try and get a feeling for the bike and get a basic set-up sorted out. Then we can look at ways to go faster´.

The extra physical demands of the Honda RS, compared to the Aprilia 125 he started the 2002 season with, is particularly problematic for the 19 year old, who has only just returned from a knee operation which kept him out of action for the last two months. `My knee is not 100% but it is not a problem for me on the bike,´ he continues. `The worst thing has been my shoulders and my back, because I haven´t put them under this much strain for a long time. I will recover my strength quickly, though, and this will not be a problem for long.´

Smrz is hoping the 250 experience between now and the end of the season will serve him well for 2003, when he hopes to be riding a quarter-litre machine from the first race. `The plan is for me to return to the Elit team I started the season with. We hope to have a two man line-up in 2003, with me in the 250 class and Thomas Luthi in 125´.

250cc, 2002

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