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Yuki Takahashi: the hot new Japanese prospect

Yuki Takahashi: the hot new Japanese prospect

Yuki Takahashi: the hot new Japanese prospect

It was one of the highlights of the opening race of 2003. Japanese rider Yuki Takahashi again showed his talent and potential at the highest level of the motorcycle racing world. Many full-time people in the paddock remembered his performance in the Gauloises Pacific Grand Prix of Motegi in 2002 and the intense battle with Toni Elias and Fonsi Nieto. It was Takahashi´s first appearance in the 250cc World Championships and he stepped onto the third podium step. Last weekend the wild-card entry again repeated the remarkable feat. Takahashi, one of the leading figures in the Japanese Championships, was not however entirely satisfied with the result.

`My objective was do better than in Motegi,´ he said. ´Two weeks before the race we made a test at Motegi and try as I might my best time was five seconds slower than the pace I was running in the GP in 2002. I just could not find the speed or the confidence to run at the level of the World Championship riders. The weekend of the GP was very complicated. Sunday morning in warm-up was the first time we had ridden in the dry and the only opportunity to adjust the bike. On one hand I am happy with the third place and grateful to the team because they worked hard to get me on the podium again. But when I think about the potential of the bike I realise I could have done a lot better.´

The 18 year old remembers the key moves in the final metres of the race when Aoyama, another wild card, ´robbed´ second position: `I have known Hiroshi Aoyama for ten years, ever since we raced in mini-bikes, and we both know each other´s strategy. I tried to go as fast as possible without turning my head to look, and in the final stages I did not think he could beat me because I was a little further in front. Maybe if I´d have looked behind he wouldn´t have surprised me… I am still regretting it ´.

After his brief but successful flirtation with Grand Prix, Takahashi is back on familiar territory in the Japanese Championship but hopes to return soon: `My goal this season is to win as much as possible in my home Championship with the same impetus and will that I used in this race. I have the ambition to compete in the World Championships and I am already studying English!´

250cc, 2003, Yuki Takahashi

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