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Tamada looking to make himself at home in Mugello

Tamada looking to make himself at home in Mugello

Tamada looking to make himself at home in Mugello

Makoto Tamada has quickly found his feet in the tough world of MotoGP racing. Despite not speaking one word of Italian, his laid back personality and top level racing talent have blended well with the vast experience of the Pramac Honda team and he has settled in well to his new European surroundings. The 26-year old from Shikoku Island, Japan, has even made friends with some important locals near his home in Tuscany, and he is hoping for their support at the Gran Premio Cinzano d´Italia this weekend.

`What I have experienced so far I like very much,´ said Tamada, who spent four years as an official Honda rider in the All Japan Superbike series. `I´m used to working for HRC in an all Japanese environment, in the Japanese way. In Europe I work with Japanese and Italian technicians and team staff and it´s very professional. I am working with a group of very good people and I have a very positive feeling´.

`I must admit that I have not had enough time to mix socially. I live on top of a hill in Casole dÉlse, Toscana, and haven´t even had the time to jump into the car and go down into Fierenze. We had a short time in Barcelona, and last week I saw a little of Paris, but not long enough. I have to say it´s all very exciting. The local people in Casole know I´m a racer and give me a wave when I pass, particularly the police. They stop me just to say hello! Soon I will be able to speak to them, I hope. I am learning to speak Italian.

After so long riding Superbikes, Tamada has understandably needed time to adapt to the power of a MotoGP four-stroke, but claims he is beginning to strike up a relationship with the 990cc V5. `The feeling I have with the RCV now is totally different from when I first tested with the team in Malaysia. Then it was, `Oh, its an RCV,´ now the feeling is quite normal when I ride it, the relationship is very good. The bike is no way like a Superbike. You have to be very careful how you use the power of the RCV, the wheel spin is incredible, and not just in low gears but in the mid-range. You have to be very delicate on the throttle, whereas you can be hard on the throttle with a Superbike.

Pramac Honda and Tamada are putting in a huge effort to improve the Bridgestone tyres they race with and Tamada is confident they are the tyres of the future. `The tyres are improving all the time, you can see that in the results. We have many choices of tyres, at all tracks. Any kind of development you work on is really the same. You find the solutions you need by testing everything you have available. If it doesn´t work you have to develop something that does, and I´m confident Bridgestone can do that. I´m happy with the work we are doing with Bridgestone´.

This weekend represents the most important Grand Prix of the season for his team, but Tamada insists he will not be overawed by the additional pressure: `No I will not feel any pressure at Mugello, even if I race for an Italian team with Italian sponsors. I raced for HRC in Japan. The rhythm of work was rigid, I´m used to the pressure. I´m looking forward to Mugello, it´s a race I have to ride, and I´m ready because I have heard so much about it from my friends and my team´.

MotoGP, 2003, Makoto Tamada

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