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Youichi Ui tests 250cc Aprilia with Abruzzo in Jerez

Youichi Ui tests 250cc Aprilia with Abruzzo in Jerez

Youichi Ui tests 250cc Aprilia with Abruzzo in Jerez

After eight seasons in the 125cc World Championship Youichi Ui today finally made the step up to a 250cc machine when he surprisingly tested the Abruzzo Aprilia at Jerez. The Japanese veteran is due to sign for the Italian team and has until Wednesday to impress chief mechanic Mauro Noccioli, who will decide whether he will step up to the quarter-litre class straight away or contest at least one more season in 125. The team were unable to make any comment, however, on the futures of their 2003 250cc riders Johan Stigefelt and Anthony West.

"I would really like to step up 250 because it would be a fresh challenge for me," said Ui, who completed several laps of the Spanish circuit in the afternoon after a morning rain shower had left the track damp for much of the day. "My aim is to have a year of learning this year and then challenge for the top positions in the class in 2005. It is something I have wanted for a few years now and I think it is a step I need to make. Hopefully that will be the decision on Wednesday."

250cc World Champion Manuel Poggiali was also at the test although he decided not take any risks on the slippery track and watched from pit wall as his 2004 title rival Randy De Puniet clocked up the laps. The Frenchman continued his adaptation to the new parts he received at the end of this season as well as some possible updates for 2004 under the watchful eye of Aprilia's Technical Director Jan Witteveen. Meanwhile, Poggiali enjoyed the opportunity to relax.

"Since the season ended I haven't stopped – with celebrations, special dinners and things like that back home in San Marino," said Poggiali. "In a few weeks we have the FIM Awards and after that I am planning on a holiday so that I can completely disconnect and unwind."

250cc, 2003

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