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Hervé Poncharal `Barros has a sparkle in his eye´

Hervé Poncharal `Barros has a sparkle in his eye´

Hervé Poncharal `Barros has a sparkle in his eye´

We are definitely looking forward to the 2003 season, and so far the tests we have done have filled me with confidence. However I did get a scare when Olivier crashed at the test in Jerez. My mind instantly flashed back to the crash two years ago in Sepang which broke his scaphoid and took him a long time to recover from fully. He had only bruised his wrist, contrary to speculation, but preferred to sit out the Valencia tests in order to work on regaining strength and I last saw him just before he took part in the Monte Carlo classic rally, which I hear he thoroughly enjoyed. He said he will be back for our test next week in Barcelona, and will certainly be back on the pace there. It is now up to him to get confident again and for us to support him as much as we can.

Every team is going to be competitive this year, and I´m sure it will be a fantastic season for spectators, the press, television; everyone apart from team managers, who might have a few heart palpitations! We will be fighting not only to be the best Yamaha team, but also fighting to win races, although with Honda, Ducati and Suzuki all looking strong, before we get to the first race in Suzuka, it is much too early to tell.

We are working closely with the Fortuna team, in fact you could say that we are all working as one big team, with each rider working in different areas of the bike, however come race time we will be racing for ourselves and we are working on getting the best communication with our riders and getting the bike to suit the individual's needs. With Alex Barros doing as well as he has already though, it´s hard not to dream about what might be!

Alex really has impressed everyone with his professionalism and talent, he has come in like a breath of fresh air. The engineers are happy with his development work, he is always giving fantastic feedback and always going in the same direction. What is most pleasing is the fact that he is regularly putting in laps faster than the lap record, it is not the odd lap here and there. His consistency fills us all with confidence, and belying his experience is the sparkle in his eyes of a fifteen year-old! These two facets coupled together will make him very strong this year.

MotoGP, 2003, Alex Barros

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