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Testing time for the 250cc riders in Jerez this week

Testing time for the 250cc riders in Jerez this week

Testing time for the 250cc riders in Jerez this week

The 2003 pre-season period is an important phase for the riders of the quarter litre class and this week the work begins in earnest when the riders take to the track in Jerez for the first official IRTA sessions on Friday. This upcoming test and that of a few days time in Estoril (Portugal) will serve to inform the riders of the 250cc classification what kind of form they have and work needs to be done less than two months away from the start of the World Championships. While the series still waits to see if Yamaha will finally compete for 2003, the category at this moment only has two constructors Honda and Aprilia in action at Jerez this week.

Former 125 World Champion Manuel Poggiali makes his debut in the class with the official factory Aprilia effort, signing in the place of 2002 number one Marco Melandri who has departed to MotoGP. He arrives in Jerez buoyed with confidence after easily getting to grips with the 250. His rapid adaptation to the larger bike can be witnessed by the laptimes he has notched so far in testing and adds weight to the validity of his title quest in his rookie attempt. In the private test made by Aprilia last month, also at Jerez, the rider from San Marino clocked a 1´44.4, a time that would have given him pole at last season´s Spanish GP (set by Franco Battaini with a 1´44.803).

Also in the list for Jerez this week are expected title contenders Spaniards Fonsi Nieto and Toni Elías of the Teléfonica Movistar Repsol works Aprilia team. Honda´s representatives also pose a strong case for the Championship in the form of Italian Roberto Rolfo, who has lapped recently at both Valencia and Jerez (1´46.4) with the RSW, and Argentine Sebastián Porto who, quite the opposite, has yet to ride this year with his new bike and team after initial problems setting up the deal.
Those who have started to accumulate miles this year include Frenchmen Randy de Puniet (Safilo Oxydo LCR) and Sylvain Guintoli (Campetella Racing), veteran Italian racer Franco Battaini and the youngsters of Team Aspar Junior, Joan Olivé and Héctor Faubel, all of whom are with Aprilia. The riders of the Motoracing Honda team, Sweden´s Johan Stigefeld and Australian Anthony West, return to the category and will be hoping for better luck in 2003. The 250 sessions (with 24 riders in total expected) at the Andalucian circuit also sees the return of German Katja Poensgen, after a years absence and World Championship debutants Christián Gemmel and Hungarian Gabor Rizmayer.

250cc, 2003

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