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Daijiro Kato: `We are taking giant steps forward´

Daijiro Kato: `We are taking giant steps forward´

Daijiro Kato: `We are taking giant steps forward´

Amidst the media hype and on-track drama surrounding HRC tests in Sepang last week, Daijiro Kato quietly clocked up the laps, consistently setting fast times and ploughing through a stack of development work alongside his new team-mate Sete Gibernau. And Kato, who won the 250cc World Championship at the second attempt before moving up to the elite class in 2002, is delighted with the progress he is making as he looks to challenge Valentino Rossi for the MotoGP crown.

`We used the machine from last season with a few new parts added to it,´ explained Kato. `We tried a few different settings and played about with the tyres and we found some good rubber. I put good times on the board and ended the test feeling really positive. We are taking giant steps forward. In February we plan to use the new bike at another factory test in Sepang´.

The Malaysia test was Kato´s first chance to get a close look at the Ducati, and he was suitably impressed. `It sounds amazing!´, he exclaims. `They seem really fast on the track and they have set good times. There are a lot of very strong factories out there now and my impression is that there will be a real battle for the title this season´.

Rookie of the Year in 2002, Kato has demonstrated a swift adaptation to both the NSR500 and the RC211V, and with four straight wins in the 250 class at Suzuka to his name he makes no secret of his target for the first race. `Even though they gave me the four-stroke at Brno, I didn´t manage to win a single race, so I am very motivated to ride to the maximum of my potential and take my first victory in MotoGP´.

MotoGP, 2003

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