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Toni Elias looking forward to the next phase of testing

Toni Elias looking forward to the next phase of testing

Toni Elias looking forward to the next phase of testing

For me it has been a really busy winter, with only two weeks of real holiday to relax and get away from everything. The rest of the time I have been testing, training and attending promotional events like a recent supermotard race. When I did get some time off I headed for the mountains with my friends and we spent of couple of weeks skiing, which was great fun. As soon as I got back home I was straight into my training routine – in the gym, cycling, running and taking the motocross bikes out with my Dad.

Back in December we tested the 2003 model Aprilia for the first time and I can tell you I went home a very happy man. Towards the end of last season I was having a lot of problems with the front end and couldn't ride as aggressively as I like to. We had tried three or four different chassis set-ups but none of them solved the problem, but we had a completely new chassis down at Valencia and it worked perfectly. Now I am really looking forward to riding it again at the factory tests back at Valencia this week. Basically the test will be a continuation of the work we started there in December. The weather was very cold at that time and it rained on the second day so we have some lost time to make up for.

I don't really like to talk about the future or make predictions about results, but I think it is fair to say that this year is going to be very competitive. My team-mate Fonsi Nieto was runner-up last year and is obviously going to be very strong again whilst Rolfo and Porto are both tough competitors with lots of experience. It also seems like Manuel Poggiali is adapting well to the 250, with some really fast laps down in Jerez. For his first time on a quarter-litre machine his times are excellent and it is clear he will be one to watch out for. Of course, we had some good battles in the 125 class in 2001 so we both know each other's strengths and weaknesses, which will be good for both of us.

I am looking forward to the season now, but we have some hard work to get through first, starting this week at Valencia. After that we have the IRTA tests, and probably a couple of days at Mugello before the season finally starts on April 6th.

250cc, 2003, Toni Elias

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