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Johan Stigefelt confident of recovering from latest setback

Johan Stigefelt confident of recovering from latest setback

Johan Stigefelt confident of recovering from latest setback

I'm in Barcelona at the moment, trying to get some rest and hoping to recover quickly from the injuries I picked up in the free practice on Saturday morning at Estoril. I think it is fair to say that it was my biggest ever crash – a 160 km/h highside is difficult to beat! Basically what happened was that I was enjoying the session and we were making real progress with the chassis and suspension. I decided to put on a new tyre and push for a good lap time to see what I was capable of in qualifying. On my second lap I tried really hard to get good drive out of the final corner onto the straight, but I got onto the gas a little early and hit a slight bump. The rear came around and that was it – I was flying through the air.

The impact caused muscle and ligament damage to my stomach, and it is still very painful. The doctors said the only remedy is rest, so hopefully I have time to get back to full fitness before the next round in Rio.

The crash couldn't have come at a worse time really, and it is typical of my season. We have had bad luck for the last four races with continual technical problems, and I have to admit my own performances have not been 100%, but I felt that we had really picked things up in Portugal and I was confident of a good result. Unfortunately I couldn't ride with these injuries so that makes it doubly important that we get some good points from the remaining five rounds.

Generally I am not satisfied with my season so far, but I know what I am capable of and I am looking forward to better times. The Aprilia is such a sensitive machine, and I have to learn a lot more about it before I can ride it at 100%. You see guys like Fonsi Nieto, who has been riding an Aprilia for years, and some weekends are a complete disaster for him. I feel I need one more season on this bike, and hopefully I will get that chance. I already have a couple of options for next year. One of those could be to stay with this team, but my priority is to get on an Aprilia – it is a very good bike but it really needs to be set up and ridden correctly.

The fact I have these options for next year relieves a little pressure and I am looking forward to enjoying the rest of the season. I like all the tracks we have left on the calendar – especially Phillip Island – so hopefully I can go out and get some good results for myself and all the people supporting me back in Sweden.

250cc, 2003

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