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De Puniet happy with his preseason so far

De Puniet happy with his preseason so far

De Puniet happy with his preseason so far

Randy De Puniet has emerged as one of the favourites for the 250cc World Championship after consolidating his good form from last season with a series of record breaking lap times during winter testing. The LCR team rider has made swift progress on development of the 2004 version Aprilia and was impressive at both the Jerez and Valencia factory tests, topping the time sheets on every occasion.

"It's true that the preseason is going well for me," the Frenchman told "We started very early – I was already testing on the day after the last race of 2003 at Valencia. In January we began to test a few different types of chassis and I was lucky enough to set some super times at both Jerez and Valencia. My real job at these tests, though, was to analyse the performance of the new parts and the modifications we have made to the bike."

De Puniet is now looking forward to measuring his progress against the rest of his 250cc rivals at the official tests at the end of the month. "I have already ridden alongside my Aprilia colleagues this year and they are all in good form. Porto, for example, is doing well. Nieto has had a tougher time but he will be there or thereabouts, as will Poggiali and De Angelis. I am curious to see how things turn out when we are all on track together. For me, the unknown quantity is Honda, because I haven't tested with them yet. In any case I'm expecting a tough and exciting season."

After picking up nine podiums and three victories last season on his way to fourth in the championship, De Puniet now feels he has the means to turn his preseason form into a serious challenge for the title. "I have got an official Aprilia which is already fast and I'm in a team where I feel very comfortable, above all with the atmosphere and the level of professionalism, which allows me to concentrate on my job. In a few days I'll be at the team presentation in San Marino and then we will see how the official tests go," he concluded.

250cc, 2004

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