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Steve Jenkner keeping cool ahead of the official tests

Steve Jenkner keeping cool ahead of the official tests

Steve Jenkner keeping cool ahead of the official tests

It's been a long, cold winter for Steve Jenkner. Aside from a week's holiday in Fuertaventura, the 27 year old has spent the last five months in his native Germany, enduring sub-zero temperatures and waiting impatiently for the new season to begin. Despite making the most of the conditions to enjoy a few games of ice hockey – a sport he has enjoyed since he was a small child - the WWC Aprilia rider admits that the lack of opportunities to ride a motorcycle has been frustrating.

"The winter has been quite good fun, playing ice hockey and spending time with my family and such, but the last four to six weeks have been hard," explained Jenkner. "The ice hockey keeps me fit and I have also been doing some cycling, but it is very cold in Germany – too cold to ride a motorcycle – so I am very much looking forward to getting back on the Aprilia."

Ironically, the team's first scheduled test at Mugello in Italy last week was cancelled because of heavy snowfall at the Italian circuit, meaning Jenkner will now have to wait until the official tests at Barcelona at the end of the month. Meanwhile, the likes of fellow title candidates Hector Barbera, Pablo Nieto, Casey Stoner and Andrea Dovizioso have all run up valuable kilometres during the winter break - in particular Barbera who, like Jenkner, will enjoy factory support from Aprilia this season. However, the experienced German refuses to panic.

"I know that I will be getting the same treatment from Aprilia as Barbera so it doesn't worry me that he has been testing so much," he explained. "He will have been using mainly, if not totally, the 2003 bike and as far as I am concerned there is not much point in that. Okay, one test is good to stay in shape but the rest of the time is just riding for the sake of it. I'm just concerned about getting the 2004 material at Barcelona and working from there."

Jenkner will be joined at the test for the first time by his new team-mate Marco Simoncelli, who shot to the fore in the final race of the 2003 season, when he finished fourth after battling with Jenkner for victory. "Simoncelli seems like a nice guy, I met him recently in Bologna and as a person I like him. As a rider we will have to see – he was certainly impressive at Valencia last year. From my point of view I just hope he brings plenty of feedback to the team. My last team-mate, Gabor Talmacsi, didn't go my way with the setting and wasn't really suited to the Aprilia so we couldn't share much data, but hopefully with Marco we can help each other."

The 2004 125cc World Championship represents Jenkner's eighth consecutive season in the minor category of Grand Prix racing and he admits that, whether it is successful or not, it is likely to be his last. "My intention was always to ride in 125 this year and try and win the title. I signed a two year contract last season so there was no chance of me switching to 250 this winter, although the plan is to do that in 12 months. I very much want to win the title, but I think this will be my last attempt because, at 28 years of age, I will be too old to be a 125 rider next year."

125cc, 2004

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