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Alex Barros reflects on his first test for Honda

Alex Barros reflects on his first test for Honda

Alex Barros reflects on his first test for Honda

MotoGP veteran Alex Barros today made his return to Honda on the first day of a packed test session at Sepang, just over a year since leaving for rival factory Yamaha. After months of contract wrangles, press speculation and the painful recovery process from a shoulder injury, the Brazilian was finally back on track doing what he does best today and admitted that he had enjoyed reacquainting himself with the V5 machine which carried him to two victories from four races at the end of the 2002 season.

"I was so excited about today I really didn't sleep much last night," smiled the amicable 33 year old, who clocked a best time of 2'05.980 – some distance off the 2'02.693 reportedly set by his factory colleague Max Biaggi. However, as Barros himself states, the objectives of this test have nothing to do with lap times.

"The target is to be 100% ready for the first race in April. At the moment I am still recovering from the shoulder operation and am not fully fit. It was good today because I keep telling myself not to go mad. There are many top Honda people here today and they tell me to take it easy. I haven't ridden a machine for three months; I really need to make a good 'warm-up'."

Barros added that the RC211V has come a long way since he rode it for the last time at Valencia some 16 months ago. "All the feelings I have on the bike with reference points are completely different to last year. Even though I rode the RCV in 2002 I can make no real comparison. The whole package seems to have increased. The power – the grip - the turning. Everything is a little bit better."

Despite his modest first day on the bike, Barros admits that he is looking forward to a successful future with the team who have won the World Championship for the past two successive seasons. "I have a great feeling about this season - I have ridden for Honda for eight years - this is my ninth and this is the first time in the number one team. I am working with many people I have known for a long time but we have to build this new team to make a really strong package. It won't happen overnight but I am very confident we are making a good foundation."

MotoGP, 2003, Alex Barros

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