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Makoto Tamada ready for take off

Makoto Tamada ready for take off

Makoto Tamada ready for take off

MotoGP rookie Makoto Tamada came face to face with his new rivals for the first time last weekend at Catalunya, where the ambitious Pramac Racing project took another major step forward in their quest to dominate the series with Bridgestone tyres in 2004. Tamada believes his first task is to learn as much as possible from the current crop of GP stars, although he is also confident that it won´t be long before he establishes himself at the front of the field.

`Right now I am adapting to the MotoGP bike,´ he explains. `This year I need time, I have to gather experience and kilometres on a lot of tracks which are new to me. The development work we are carrying out with Bridgestone also needs time. I think I am starting at a disadvantage, but I am enjoying the experience. For the moment, the main priority for the Pramac team is development of the Bridgestone tyre and at Barcelona we worked intensively on that.´

$$$ Tamada, who has won World Superbike races as a wildcard on three occasions, also revealed his strategy for attack in his first season in the elite category: `It will be my first season so I don´t want to rush anything and end up crashing lots. I can´t do anything if I am injured. The Catalunya test was the first one with all the riders together and my impression is that I can fight with them if I have the right tyre. I am not going to make predictions but I feel capable of competing in the right conditions – I am confident in my own ability.´

Despite his experience and success in WSB, Tamada is aware that the move to MotoGP represents a step up in quality, both in terms of machinery and competition: `The difference in the level is very important, the two categories have very little in common. Personally, I am more motivated by the challenge of MotoGP. I am also lucky that the season starts in Suzuka. I know the circuit well and I will be able to focus on machine set-up and tyre choice.´

$$$ Like many riders, the biggest pressure Tamada is facing is that which he imposes on himself, and he has high hopes of living up to his own expectations in the second half of the season. `I want to make the podium. It is not a case of hoping for wet or dry conditions, I just think that by the halfway stage our work will put us in a position to challenge. The competition is tough but I am dreaming of stepping onto that MotoGP podium´.

MotoGP, 2003, Makoto Tamada

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