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Naoki Matsudo hoping for better luck on his birthday

Naoki Matsudo hoping for better luck on his birthday

Naoki Matsudo hoping for better luck on his birthday

I am very happy to have recorded my first ever front row start. I think a very influential factor was that I really like the Donington circuit and the chassis we had for the weekend was ideally suited. This meant I was able to go out and set fast times from the very first session. In the race I made a bad start, with the engine not responding – exactly the same problem that I had at Assen. I had to work my way through from the back but the difference between the engines of the Aprilias and Hondas compared to my Yamaha are huge and it really counts on the straights. It was really difficult to get past riders because of this and as I fought through the pack the leaders escaped.

I am now completely recovered from the injury to my right arm which I sustained at Assen and I am looking forward to the next race at Sachsenring, my favourite circuit. It is a small track with many corners and the difference in the engines won´t count so much. I hope to get a good start and stay at the front. Also, the first day of qualifying will be my 30th birthday, so I hope to celebrate with a good performance on Sunday.

After eight races my season hasn´t been so bad – I would give myself six out of ten, mainly because I have missed two major opportunities at Assen and Donington. I have tried to pick up an average of ten points per race and, although I am twelve points up on my score this time last year, I am gradually losing touch with the leaders. So, from now on I will just be going for the highest possible finish at every race. Today we finish our second test of the season at Brno and we have worked hard to solve our starting problem.

250cc, 2003

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