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Twin factory fight splits 250 fans in half

Twin factory fight splits 250 fans in half

Twin factory fight splits 250 fans in half

250cc World Championship fans around the globe are split in half in their opinion on the destiny of the quarter-litre crown in 2004. In one of the most popular surveys ever held at, over 23,000 fans voted on whether they believed Honda could wrestle the title from Aprilia – with the Italian factory gaining the confidence of just over 200 voters more than their Japanese counterparts.

Despite Aprilia's dominance of the series over the past couple of seasons, with youngsters Marco Melandri and Manuel Poggiali lifting the title and Noale factory riders dominating the top positions, Honda are out to recover the crown they last held in 2002 with Daijiro Kato and have assigned four factory riders to the task – their lead rider from last season, Roberto Rolfo, joined by Aprilia's second highest classified rider of 2003, Toni Elias, 125cc World Champion Dani Pedrosa and 250cc Japanese Champion Hiroshi Aoyama. It is a clear statement of intent from HRC, who have also launched a new improved version of the RS250 RW machine.

Aprilia, meanwhile, moved to sign Sebastian Porto from Honda at the end of last season and the Argentinean will join reigning World Champion Poggiali, alongside promising Frenchman Randy De Puniet, consistent frontrunner Fonsi Nieto and talented rookie Alex De Angelis. The Italian factory have completed an intense private testing schedule with all five riders over the winter months as they look to counter Honda's assault.

It promises to be a thrilling contest, and 250cc fans will get their first taste of the action when the Official Test gets underway at Barcelona on the 24th and 25th March.

*Yamaha do not provide direct factory support to the 250cc World Championship although four riders will be on Yamaha machinery this season: Naoki Matsudo, Erwan Nigon, Max Sabbatani and Taro Sekiguchi.

250cc, 2004

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