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Abe happy with his final season aboard the YZR500

Abe happy with his final season aboard the YZR500

Abe happy with his final season aboard the YZR500

Norick Abe was one of the most consistent riders in the 2002 MotoGP World Championship. Riding the Luis D'Antín Yamaha YZR500 two-stroke, the Japanese rider held his own as the four-strokes threatened to whitewash the series, regularly finishing in the top eight and taking sixth spot overall in the championship.

`Each race had its own characteristics and I knew I would have to cope with the presence of the four-strokes at every one,´ reflects Abe, who has three Grand Prix victories to his name. `I am just sorry that I couldn´t make the podium at Le Mans because I was fighting in the lead group´.

After equalling his previous World Championship position, Abe looks back on the 2002 season in a positive light. ´The overall reflection is very good. Barros was fighting with me when he was on the two-stroke and they gave him the four-stroke much earlier than me. I had to push harder than the others but I think that I raced well´.

Yamaha gave the team a four-stroke M1 at the penultimate round of the season in Australia but Abe was unable to race after a qualifying crash ended with nasty injuries to the hand, shoulder and hip. It was the first race he had missed in after 119 consecutive starts. ´I wanted to race no matter what, or at least see if I could get on the bike, but the doctors would not allow it. At that time I wasn´t thinking about the record of consecutive starts because I was concentrating on my injuries. It was a short while afterwards that I looked back on it and felt disappointed that my streak had ended´.

Abe was able to finish the season in Valencia but is still recovering from the injuries sustained at Phillip Island. ´I am still not completely better. The bones were unbroken but I injured the muscle and ligament. For this reason the recovery is slow and I cannot raise my arm. I have no strength´.

MotoGP, 2002

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