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Roby Rolfo on his failed title bid and his new team-mate

Roby Rolfo on his failed title bid and his new team-mate

Roby Rolfo on his failed title bid and his new team-mate

Roberto Rolfo was in Barcelona this week to watch his Honda RSW 250 get packed away and sent back to HRC in Japan. The Italian will be sent a new version of the machine over the winter as he begins preparations for another title challenge after his 2003 campaign ended in bitter disappointment at the final round in Valencia last Sunday. Rolfo spoke exclusively to about his best season in the championship so far, and revealed his thoughts on his new team-mate, Toni Elias. You have now had time to reflect on the race at Valencia… what are your feelings?

RR: Above all disappointment because I couldn't fight for the title in the last race. If I had fought for it and lost, then that would have been easier to take, but I had so many problems with my bike that I just couldn't do anything. I got away from the line okay but as soon as I went to change from 3rd gear to 4th the bike cut out and I dropped back to twelfth place. I fought up to eighth, which was better, but then I started to have problems again and from then on it was just a case of trying to finish the race. I was nervous because the behaviour of the bike was unbelievable – it was a very strange race for me all round. You lost the title to Manuel Poggiali. Do you think he was a worthy winner?

RR: Oh yes, for sure Manuel deserved the title. He won more races than me and he was very fast, so I don't think there can be any doubt he deserved it. Despite missing out on the title, are you satisfied with your performance this season?

RR: From one point of view, yes – I am happy. The gap between my bike and the Aprilias was very big at the beginning, but we worked hard to improve it and at the end it was not so bad. I scored points in every race, which is also good. On the other hand, I believed I could win the title all the way through the season but I could not fight in the very last round, and that is a problem to me. Do you think you can challenge Aprilia from the start in 2004?

RR: That is our goal, for sure. Honda are still searching for horsepower because the gap still lies in the engine, not the chassis, so I am waiting to find out what they can come up with before we start testing this winter. Obviously I think I can win the title next year and with the help of Honda I am confident in our chances, but we have to be ready to push from the very first race. What is you reaction to the news that Fortuna Honda have signed Toni Elias to be your team-mate next year?

RR: For sure it is a good thing. Toni is a very fast rider and that can only be good for Honda. He is a nice guy and I get on well with him, so I am sure he will be a good team-mate.

250cc, 2003

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