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Fonsi Nieto and Sebas Porto comment on their first pre-season of 2004 in Jerez

Fonsi Nieto and Sebas Porto comment on their first pre-season of 2004 in Jerez

Fonsi Nieto and Sebas Porto comment on their first pre-season of 2004 in Jerez

After the last Aprilia test that took place over three days at the Spanish circuit of Jerez the riders of the Repsol-Aspar team, Fonsi Nieto and Sebastián Porto have kicked off their pre-season work for the 2004 campaign. The outing involved some very positive results for Porto, who was amongst the three fastest riders everyday on his first shakedown steering the factory Aprilia. On the other hand the laps recorded by Nieto were slightly disappointing and his best efforts remained some three seconds away from the quickest man on the track Frenchman Randy De Puniet.

Nieto tested some new components on his Aprilia and also the chassis that Toni Elías used last season, but his overall impressions were not ideal: "I am not really satisfied with the way things have gone at this test but this is my first time out on the bike for two months and I was trying various new things," he explained. "I also worked with the chassis that Toni Elías ran last year but our conclusions were not so good. Today has been a pretty awful and the track conditions did not help, but even so, I was able to make 52 laps and I could appreciate the changes we made to the engine and also the clutch. I am not too worried about the times because I was taking things slow and easy and after all I still have to wait for the 2004 chassis to then start from zero."

Sebastián Porto's words were more or less in direct contrast: "I am happy with the tests but it is too soon to make any worthwhile judgements. I have clocked relatively little kilometers and I need more track time to build up some confidence. For my first ride I felt quite comfortable, I adapted OK to the engine; that is really fast and also the chassis," remarked the Argentinian. "This bike is really different to the Honda and I still do not know the limits when I open the gas. Towards the end I made a fast time but this is not the most importnant thing. What is vital is that I have started working with this new project and the new team with whom I have great hopes."

The riders continue on to Valencia for further work on 30th and 31st of January. Next month they will again be lapping the Spanish circuit on the 9th and 10th before completing private sessions at Jerez once more and Estoril before the end of February. During March the team will take part in the official IRTA tests at the Circuit de Catalunya, on 24th and 25th of March and in Jerez on 29th and 30th.

250cc, 2003, Pablo Nieto

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