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Lucio Cecchinello weighs up the positive progress made in Jerez and Estoril

Lucio Cecchinello weighs up the positive progress made in Jerez and Estoril

Lucio Cecchinello weighs up the positive progress made in Jerez and Estoril

Owner and rider of the Safilo Oxydo LCR team, Lucio Cecchinello concluded the second IRTA test, in Estoril, with the fastest lap time in the 125cc classification. On the second day his young pupil Casey Stoner leapfrogged him on the time sheets and the charasmatic Italian rider revealed his satisfaction with his team´s effort to after the events in Jerez and Estoril.

`I´m chuffed of course but we must try to keep our feet on the ground at this early stage´, he remarked. `The World Championship is a much harder goal than any testing session. However we have good reason to feel cheerful about everything because the three riders in the team have adapted well with their Aprilias. It´s amazing how fast Randy De Puniet was in Jerez and we are very happy with the results of Casey Stoner, in the last week and especially these two days in Estoril. All the hard work of the team is bearing fruit, because I have to say that finding the perfect set-up for the new Aprilias is not an easy task. We think we have cracked the secret formula, but I am not going to tell you what it is! I can say that we have advanced the bikes a lot.

`For me what is really important is that we have ridden quicker than last year and must now maintain this direction´, continued Cecchinello. `The 2003 Aprilias are faster but also have a better chassis that is more natural in the handling, especially when there is less grip. This we can see for example in the small chicane at Estoril that we now negotiate a lot more easily.´

`I did not expect to be among the fastest riders so soon´, confessed the 33 year old veteran. `Casey has gone very quickly. Before he rode in the style of the 250s but now he has accustomed to the 125. In Estoril we rode a lot of laps together and it was almost impossible to pass him. Yesterday he made a time better than mine and many people thought that would bother me but it is exactly the opposite. I feel proud to have a young rider so fast in the team. Also as director I have to work thinking in the future and a good rider is the first ingredient in this structure. To have another rider alongside me who is setting good times is a guarantee, not only for results, but for the sponsors too.

125cc, 2003

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