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Tohru Ukawa joins Honda Pons for the 2003 season

Tohru Ukawa joins Honda Pons for the  2003 season

Tohru Ukawa joins Honda Pons for the 2003 season

Tohru Ukawa shall be joining the Honda Pons team for the 2003 MotoGP World Championship. The 29-year-old Japanese rider makes the move from the Repsol Honda team, where he partnered Valentino Rossi in the 2002 Championship, to the team managed by former double World Champion Sito Pons. Ukawa´s incorporation into the team follows an agreement between Honda Pons, Honda Racing Corporation and the rider himself. Since his World Championship debut in 1994 in the 250cc class Ukawa has achieved five race wins and 39 podium finishes. For the last two seasons he has been riding in the top category of racing as an Official HRC Rider. Ukawa´s incorporation into the team will strengthen still further the close relationship between Honda Pons and HRC.

In the team Tohru Ukawa will ride alongside four-time World Champion Max Biaggi who was confirmed last week after an agreement was reached with Italian industrial giant Pramac. Both riders will compete on RC211Vs on Michelin tyres. Ukawa shall work with chief mechanic Ramon Forcada who has enjoyed a very successful 2002 season working alongside Alex Barros.$$$ ´After such a good season in 2002 where I finished third in the Championship I am now looking to challenge my new environment to refresh my mind and achieve the first Japanese MotoGP World Championship´said Ukawa. ´In this sense, joining Sito and his team for the 2003 season is definitely a step in the right direction as it is and a hugely competitive and vastly experienced team. They proved exactly what they can do with the RC211V in 2002 and I am convinced they will continue to get the best out of the Honda V5 in 2003. It is a great honour for me to continue my close relationship with HRC as their official rider and I am grateful for them for giving me the opportunity to ride in this team. I am looking forward to partnering Max Biaggi and I am sure that the competition between us will be positive for the team´.

´We are all delighted to welcome Tohru into the Pramac Pons team´ added Sito Pons. ´He is a talented and hugely experienced rider and his knowledge of the RC211V will help us greatly in preparations for the new season. With Max and Tohru in the team, at every race we shall see both riders continually battling for victory. Our objective in 2003 is clearly to win the World Championship and either rider will have a very good opportunity to do just that. We have enjoyed an excellent relationship with HRC over sixteen years of top flight racing, and this agreement brings that relationship even closer. I would like to thank Tohru and those at HRC for making this happen and on behalf of all the team I would like to wish him a very warm welcome´.

MotoGP, 2002

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