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Hervé Poncharal: "It will be difficult for us at Motegi"

Hervé Poncharal: 'It will be difficult for us at Motegi'

Hervé Poncharal: "It will be difficult for us at Motegi"

Gauloises Yamaha Team Manager Herve Poncharal is expecting another tough weekend for his riders Alex Barros and Olivier Jacque at the Gauloises Pacific Grand Prix of Motegi next weekend. Both riders are recovering from injuries, with Barros still suffering from a long term shoulder problem and Jacque set to ride despite a badly bruised knee which saw him pull out of the race after just seven laps in Brazil last week

"Barros' injury has taken a long time to heal," comments Poncharal, who has been involved with top level Grand Prix racing for over 15 years. "He hurt himself at Donington but a test at Estoril revealed the problem to be tendonitis in his shoulder. He is undergoing regular treatment and may need surgery at the end of the season, but that depends on how he recovers over the next few weeks. In Rio he felt more comfortable and was not as hindered as he had been in Portugal. Olivier is okay and in principal he should be fully fit for Motegi. He was just unlucky that he crashed the day before the race because his left knee was very swollen – making it very difficult for him to change gear.

Barros' problems seem likely to further complicate a difficult track for the Yamaha YZR-M1, as Poncharal explains. "It will be difficult for us at Motegi. It is a Honda circuit and doesn't favour our bike so much. There are a lot of hard braking and acceleration zones and taking into account that Barros' injury affects his braking and that acceleration is not exactly the strong point of the M1… to be honest I don't think we can expect to be on top form. The following race at Sepang will be another matter – it is a circuit which suits the Yamaha much better."

However, whilst Poncharal admits this weekend could be another frustrating affair for his team, he insists there is plenty of reason for optimism amongst Yamaha fans for next season. "We have already had several meetings with the technical staff at Yamaha and they are very positive about the 2004 prototype. They have been working on the project for some time and they have promised us we will have a powerful engine and a winning machine next year," concluded the Frenchman.

MotoGP, 2003

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