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Katja ready to rediscover her form

Katja ready to rediscover her form

Katja ready to rediscover her form

It has been a difficult start to the 2003 campaign for Katja Poensgen. After a year of virtual inactivity since her rookie season in 2001, the German made her Grand Prix return at Suzuka with the Arie Molenaar Honda team but has been unable to reproduce the form she demonstrated on an Aprilia two years ago, when she qualified for every round she contested. From the first five races of this season she has qualified for just one, at Welkom in South Africa, but believes she is finally getting to the root of the problem.

`The problem is not with the bike, but in my head,´ said the 26 year old, who became the first woman to score points in the 250cc World Championship when she picked up 14th place at Mugello two years ago. `I have been putting far too much pressure on myself and this has affected my performances in a negative way. It seems the harder I have been trying, the slower I have gone. In fact, in the final session at Le Mans, when it was wet and I had no chance of qualifying, I probably rode better than I have all season – simply because I had nothing to lose.´

It was a vicious circle that just last week Katja could see no way out of, but she was in more positive spirits as she set out for the first free practice session yesterday morning. `It is easy to say `just calm down and enjoy the racing´, but actually doing that is harder than it seems. But I spoke to a few people after Mugello and they helped me a lot. Alex Debon and Christian Gemmel, in particular, were very helpful – we talked a lot about the characteristics of the Honda and they gave me some set-up tips for this circuit. Also Jeremy McWilliams has been taking me out onto the track at each race and advising me on how he used to ride the 250, so I have had great support from the rest of the paddock.´

On Friday afternoon the signs were already encouraging, as Katja provisionally qualified in 26th place. `I am confident I can pull every thing together this weekend, and finally dig myself out of this hole,´ she concluded. `I would like to thank my team and sponsors for sticking by me through this difficult time, and I hope to repay their faith over the next few races.´

250cc, 2003, Gran Premi Marlboro de Catalunya

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