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Cecchinello plans for 2004 as De Puniet tests in Valencia

Cecchinello plans for 2004 as De Puniet tests in Valencia

Cecchinello plans for 2004 as De Puniet tests in Valencia

Activity in the Safilo Oxydo-LCR team has continued unabated since the official end of the season at Valencia, with Randy De Puniet staying on at the Spanish circuit to test new material for Aprilia and Lucio Cecchinello working hard at his base in Montecarlo to redefine the structure of the team for 2004.

"Aprilia have to configure the new bikes for 2004 so Randy's job is to check the new material for the chassis and the engine," explained Cecchinello. "He began lapping on Tuesday, when he already went a couple of tenths under his pole time, and he will finish on Thursday. A new chassis arrived there last night and the mechanics were up all night setting it up for Randy to test today (Wednesday)."

After contesting the 125cc World Championship with himself and Casey Stoner in 2003, as well as the 250cc series with De Puniet, the veteran Italian is considering a slight change of direction after hanging up his racing leathers.

"I'm not sure how it will work out yet, it depends on the budget. What I can say is that my idea is to run two riders in 250cc and one in 125cc, all on factory Aprilias. There is a proposal on the table which has been discussed with Aprilia and our sponsor but is has yet to be accepted. The market is completely open now after the end of the season and with some of the top riders Valentino and Toni Elías having decided their futures. Hopefully I will have some definite news soon."

Along with Masao Azuma and Emilio Alzamora, Cecchinello was one of three riders to make his final appearance at Valencia on Sunday and he admitted it was an intense occasion. "I was very emotional after the race because I knew an important part of my life was over. I have put a lot of love and passion into this sport and I am finding it difficult to think that I will never race again. In fact, I have already ordered a new set of leathers for the winter tests, so that I can go out and warm the bikes up for my riders. I would go crazy if I couldn't get on a bike at all!"

250cc, 2003

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