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Sebastian Porto ready for a title tilt with Honda

Sebastian Porto ready for a title tilt with Honda

Sebastian Porto ready for a title tilt with Honda

Sebastian Porto began his World Championship career with Aprilia, before contesting the past two seasons with Yamaha, and this season he completes a full set of quarter-litre machinery as he switches to Honda. The Argentinean will ride a factory RSW from the garage run by Alberto Puig, who also has Dani Pedrosa in the 125 class, and believes it is his best chance of a title shot since he began his Grand Prix career. However, he insists he will be taking his first season as a factory rider carefully and responsibly as the Japanese manufacturer looks to wrestle back the mantle from Aprilia.

`First of all I am feeling very excited, like I do before every season,´ says Porto, who has clocked up 108 appearances since making his debut in 1994. `I think I have to take this season responsibly though because I am in a really good team with very capable staff. We are already working well together in the tests. There is not much time because we received the bike so late but the preseason aim is just to get comfortable on the bike. The weather has not been on our side so far and the lap times are not great but we are clocking up the kilometres and that is important.

$$$ The 250 Yamaha was famous for its excellent chassis, and Porto admits this is the first area he is looking to improve on the new Honda. `The first thing we have worked on has been the chassis and it seems very good, but there are still so many things to test. The engine is still not as powerful as we would like but this depends on Honda and I know they are working on it. The most important thing is Suzuka and making sure that we are on the same level as Aprilia when we get there but I´m not worried about that at the moment.´ After two rain hit IRTA tests at Jerez and Estoril it is early days for Porto to make any premonitions about his title chances, but he admitted he is preparing himself for the battle for honours. `The idea is to be up at the front, of course. If I can be in the fight for the championship then that would be fantastic. I am up for the fight and feel ready for it. I think the team is too and it is what we are all working for. I have to wait and see if the bike is competitive enough over the course of the season but I have confidence in Honda – it is the number one factory in the world. All I want is a competitive bike. Then I will do my part, give the maximum as always and I´m sure the team will too.

250cc, 2003

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