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Rossi backs Pedrosa for 250 success

Rossi backs Pedrosa for 250 success

Rossi backs Pedrosa for 250 success

Valentino Rossi has backed teenage sensation Dani Pedrosa to conquer the 250cc World Championship after his dominance of the 125cc class this season. The Spanish youngster's team manager Alberto Puig has confirmed that his protégé will not be defending the number one plate next season and will instead be stepping up to the 250cc class, and former 125cc and 250cc World Champion Rossi today endorsed the decision.

"I saw Dani ride for the first time at Barcelona two years ago, when he was even smaller than he is now," smiled Rossi at today's pre-event press conference for the SKYY Vodka Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix. "I remember thinking ‘who is the number 26?', because he was very fast. I have kept an eye on him since then and I always watch the 125 races. He was the fastest rider this year and he deserves the title – it is great to see him as a World Champion. Now he is ready for the 250cc class."

Pedrosa confirmed that he would like to make the switch, but insisted that no deal was yet done. "I want to ride a 250," said Pedrosa today. "We have a few options at the moment and a lot of things to sort out, but that is definitely my intention."

However, confirmation of the move was given by Puig. "We are going to move up to the 250cc class next season and we will approach 250 racing as we did the 125 class," confirmed the former 500cc racer, who plucked Pedrosa out of a national competition designed to uncover new racing talent in Spain. "We will need time to adjust in the first year. After that we hope to be in a really good position - able to fight for the championship."

Pedrosa, who became the second youngest rider ever to win the title with victory at Sepang last weekend, will ride his Honda RS125 for the last time in the final race of 2003 at his home round in Valencia before testing the quarter-litre machine over the winter. A team-mate for the Spanish youngster has yet to be confirmed but, should he opt to stay with Honda, Japanese wildcard sensation Yuki Takahashi is rumoured to have been lined up as his partner by HRC.

125cc, 2003, Dani Pedrosa, Valentino Rossi

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