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Bataille recovered after crash-strewn preseason

Bataille recovered after crash-strewn preseason

Bataille recovered after crash-strewn preseason

Eric Bataille has revealed that he is ‘100% fit' and ready to tackle his second season in the 250cc World Championship with renewed vigour despite a difficult preseason marred by crashes and injuries. The multi-lingual Frenchman, who won his national quarter-litre title during a break from full-time Grand Prix racing in 2002, lines-up for the second successive season alongside Alex Debon at Troll Honda BQR and injured himself in a heavy crash at Valencia in February. Damage to his stomach muscles meant he had to miss the following test at Catalunya but he recently returned to action at Valencia and reported no ill effects.

"Basically the crash was down to just being a bit too eager after not having ridden for a while," explained Bataille. "I went out with a rear tyre that was too hard for the cool track surface, opened the gas a little early on the exit of a corner and everybody knows what happens when you do that. I hurt my stomach and spent two days in hospital but I'm back into my full training routine now at my home in Benidorm – doing physical training in the morning and a variety of different sports such as swimming in the afternoon.

"We have since been back to Valencia and we had a very positive test. We have made some real improvements with the new chassis and also in the engine. We still have work to do but with two big tests coming up at Catalunya and Jerez we have all the time we need to continue development and get the absolute maximum out of the bike going into the first race at Welkom. That is my personal objective and my plan is to just take things steady and not worry about lap times because if we work in the right way and get the bike how we want it then that will be reflected in the times we set."

Bataille admits that 2004 promises to be a tougher season than ever for the numerous privateers in the quarter-litre category but says that he finds the extra competition to be an added stimulant. "With two extra factory machines in the championship and the arrival of Dani Pedrosa and Hiroshi Aoyama it is going to be tougher, of course. Even amongst the privateers ranks you've got Arnaud Vincent now as well and he will be strong. It is probably the most competitive 250cc class I have ever seen, but that is good for me and for everybody involved in the sport – the higher the competition, the higher the motivation to succeed."

250cc, 2004

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