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Nieto and Elías look for improvements at round two

Nieto and Elías look for improvements at round two

Nieto and Elías look for improvements at round two

Fonsi Nieto and Toni Elías arrive at Welkom this weekend with the clear objective of setting out their stall for the championship. The Spanish pair floundered amidst the difficult weather conditions and competitive wildcard entries at Suzuka in round one, with Nieto struggling to sixth place and Elias failing to finish the race, and now both riders have a point to prove. Last season Nieto collected his first podium of the year at the Phakisa Freeway, a result which provided the perfect springboard to his first victory at Jerez two weeks later, whilst Elias will want to banish the memory of a `stop & go´ penalty in the same race. Before turning their attentions to the weekend action, however, both riders thoughts were with the late Daijiro Kato.

`I have no words to explain how I feel about Kato´s death,´ said Nieto. `Motorcycling has suffered a great loss and it is difficult to forget about a thing like that. When I think about it, it makes me very sad. Over Easter I have tried to relax and do some gym work. After the race at Suzuka we know which route we have to take and hopefully things will be a lot better at Welkom. It is a slippery circuit with a very different type of grip to what we find at most of the other circuits during the season. Last year I finished third despite having some problems At the start of the race with a full tank. This year I will be happy to improve on that result to boost my confidence ahead of Jerez´.

Elías added: `We are all very upset about the loss of our friend Kato. It has been a hard blow for all of us. We have not made a good start to the campaign and I am looking forward to making up for that at Welkom. We are going to start from scratch and I am sure everything will go much better. Last year I had problems during qualifying and was so keen to make up places in the race that I jumped the start and was given a `stop & go´. I ended up finishing sixteenth but it was a good opportunity to gather experience on a new bike. This season I am looking for a good result to lift moral before Jerez.´

250cc, 2003, Pablo Nieto

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