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Wild-card Norick Abe to race again in Le Mans

Wild-card Norick Abe to race again in Le Mans

Wild-card Norick Abe to race again in Le Mans

Norick Abe is set to take to the racetrack this weekend for the Polini Grand Prix of France; the third time in four races so far this season. The Japanese rider, who is developing Yamaha's new prototype in the capacity of a test rider, has another wild-card entry for the event in Le Mans after having previously contested the season opener at Suzuka and replacing the injured Marco Melandri at Welkom.

In what has been a slow start to the season for Yamaha (they have yet to step on the podium once despite their five rider line-up) Abe has posted some impressive results in his new ´part-time´ role. At Suzuka he crossed the line 11th on the prototype and then with Melandri's factory machine in South Africa was the second highest Yamaha rider with 8th place; beating Shinya Nakano, Olivier Jacque and Carlos Checa.

He recently completed more testing at Mugello in preparation. ´I am a test rider and we are working on a new model. Even though my times were not great, things went well over the two days. I did not race at Jerez so I have also recovered a bit of speed and rhythm just before this weekend.

Abe has a strong record at the French track with a second position in 2000 and has finished fourth on three occasions. `Before the season even started I wanted to race in France. Last season I was not lagging behind the four strokes and I could run with them, finally I took fourth. This time I want to win! After the race we will stay behind to test some more and then I head to Japan on Tuesday.´

MotoGP, 2003

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