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Youichi Ui hoping for the title at the ninth attempt

Youichi Ui hoping for the title at the ninth attempt

Youichi Ui hoping for the title at the ninth attempt

Youichi Ui is something of a rare breed in the 125cc World Championship. The Japanese veteran, who is preparing for his ninth consecutive season in the series, is one of only two over-30s to feature on this year's entry list – the other being Andrea Ballerini. The pair will be joined in this exclusive club when Gino Borsoi and Roberto Locatelli celebrate their birthdays later in the year but it is Ui who has the biggest score to settle before hanging his up leathers. After finishing runner-up twice, in 2000 and 2001, Ui briefly tested a 250 during the winter before opting for one last attempt at the 125cc title, and explained his reasons to

"I had the choice of competing in either category," explained Ui, who joined the Abruzzo Racing Team this winter. "After testing the 250 I had a chat with the team and made the decision to stay in 125cc and have one last go at the title I want so badly. The plan is to build up the relationship with the team over the course of the season and move up to 250 next season. My results over the past two seasons have been disappointing and I want to get back amongst the top riders."

Ui has already tested twice during the off-season, at Jerez and Estoril, and was satisfied with the results. "In the last test at Estoril I felt comfortable, setting fast times throughout the two days despite the rain. The new chassis is similar to the one I used in 2002 and the new engine parts are working well. To be honest I felt good from the first session and that is already an improvement on the situation last season. The team is very professional so I can just concentrate my efforts on doing my job in the tests."

Ui will be back on track with Abruzzo Racing in the official tests at Catalunya and Jerez ahead of the first race of the season at Welkom.

125cc, 2003

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