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Youichi Ui remains fixed on title goal

Youichi Ui remains fixed on title goal

Youichi Ui remains fixed on title goal

For almost a decade now, Youichi Ui has being amongst the preseason favourites to lift the 125cc World Championship title. The Japanese veteran came agonisingly close to the crown in 2000 and 2001, as he finished runner-up aboard the Derbi. However, last season his relationship with the Spanish manufactuer fell into disrepair as a combination of bad form and technical difficulties saw him pick up just one podium finish all season. In 2003 he is preparing for a new challenge, which he believes will ignite his career once more.

´I showed at tests in December that I was not off form and that the bad results were not my fault,´ declares Ui. `I received various offers and finally I opted for Aprilia and the Sterilgarda Racing team, to have another crack at becoming World Champion´.

Ui made his first track appearance of the 2003 preseason at Valencia on Wednesday, clocking impressive times despite difficult track conditions. `It was two months since my last test and I was ready to ride again,´ he says. `I had lapped with the old engine but I tried the new one yesterday and the first impressions are very positive. The team seem to know how to listen to my opinion and I am enjoying myself´.

`This test will allow me to pick up my rhythm and prepare the set-up of the bike, a job which will continue right up to the start of the season. In any case my lap times have been the fastest of all the riders here. Next we have the IRTA tests in Jerez and Estoril, and I have asked the team to schedule another test for March but nothing is decided yet.´

Competition in the 125 class is strengthened this season by the return of two former champions, Roberto Locatelli and Emilio Alzamora, to join title defender Arnaud Vincent. However, the veteran remains unfazed. `It is not a problem. You always see the same faces in the leading pack but if I do my work correctly then I can win. This is my eighth year in the 125cc World Championship and my third manufacturer after Yamaha and Derbi. I want to be World Champion and move up to 250cc next year.´

125cc, 2003

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