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Olivier Jacque counting down the days to his four-stroke debut

Olivier Jacque counting down the days to his four-stroke debut

Olivier Jacque counting down the days to his four-stroke debut

Olivier Jacque has made few attempts to disguise his frustration at the futility of his Yamaha YZR500 in the face of the all conquering four-stroke generation in 2002. The former 250cc World Champion, whose rookie season in the premier class in 2001 was blighted by injuries and bad luck, has seen little change in his fortunes this time around – the epitome of which came in July when he was denied victory at Sachsenring when he was punted out of the lead by Alex Barros with only three laps to go after setting pole position.

Now the Frenchman can see a light at the end of the tunnel as he prepares for his final ride aboard a two stroke machine in Motegi. `From Malaysia we will be riding the Yamaha M1, so hopefully we can erase this difficult season with the two-stroke with a happy ending,´ he declares. `I´m quite confident that we can do that and it´s a good break for us. The whole team has been boosted and we´re all very happy´.

Jacque´s erstwhile team-mate Shinya Nakano has already tested the machine in private factory outings earlier this year, and Jacque believes the Japanese rider´s feedback will be an important factor when adapting to the demands of the new machine. `The main thing to adapt to for sure will be the engine braking. Shinya tested the bike in Japan and Barcelona and he told me about how it brakes. We have already spoken a lot about the machine and it sounds very complicated, but we will see hoe it goes. The engine is more smooth, less aggressive but much more powerful so I expect it is very easy to use´.

So far the four-stroke revolution seems to have favoured former 250cc riders, such as Rossi, Ukawa, Kato and Biaggi, and Jacque hopes he can replicate their swift progression. `I hope we can go straight to the front but it is difficult to know whether we can or not. It seems to have suited the style of former 250 riders but I am not really thinking about that. Put it this way – it can´t be worse than the rest of this season with the two-stroke, that is for sure´.

MotoGP, 2002

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