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Youichi Ui comments on his first tests with the 250cc Aprilia

Youichi Ui comments on his first tests with the 250cc Aprilia

Youichi Ui comments on his first tests with the 250cc Aprilia

Youichi Ui surprised the GP paddock this week by lapping the Jerez circuit on a 250cc Aprilia in the first day of a private test that the Italian firm have been holding at the venue in Southern Spain. The veteran Japanese rider, who today is 31 years old, has been a stalwart member of the 125cc World Championships for the past eight seasons but apparently is now looking to make the jump to the quarter-lite class. In the three days of tests, that concluded yesterday, Ui guided the Aprilia machine of Team Abruzzo, and he will shortly find out if the team are ready to back the friendly GP winner with a fresh challenge for 2004 or whether he will again stick to more familiar ground upon a 125..

"In the first day of the test everything was new. The category, the bike, the team... by the end of the afternoon I was really tired," he revealed. "However, the next day I felt more prepared and in tune with how I needed to ride, I relaxed and was at ease on the bike. I was trying to find a good position on the motorcycle and gradually I became more comfortable. The engine worked well but the suspension was not really set-up to my liking."

Even though he improved on his time set from the first outing, Ui was less than satisfied with his laps recorded from the last part of the test, and left with a best effort of 1'47.3: "Yesterday we tried to improve but I was having suspension problems as soon as I was getting on the gas and this prevented me from really pushing. The atmosphere in the team is good and this is very important if we are to work hard over a long season; I have a positive relationship with the mechanics even though yesterday was the first time in my career that I have had a different opinon to the engineers!" he explained concerning the handling.

Regarding his commitment to the 2004 GP campaign and which series he will finally contest Ui states that he will announce his decision in the coming week: "I have a contract for two years. We must think long and hard about what I could achieve in my first year with the team and if I finally move up to the 250s or stay for another season in the 125s. Next week I will travel to Italy for a meeting with the team bosses, where we will talk and decide everything."

250cc, 2003

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