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De Puniet leads the French revolution

De Puniet leads the French revolution

De Puniet leads the French revolution

Four years on from Olivier Jacque's memorable triumph in the 250cc World Championship, the quest to replace him as France's number one hope for MotoGP glory intensifies in 2004 with a host of riders aiming to repeat his quarter-litre achievements. Factory Aprilia rider Randy De Puniet, who finished fourth in the series last season and topped the time sheets on the first day of official tests at Catalunya on Wednesday, spearheads an eight strong army of contenders which also includes former 125cc World Champion Arnaud Vincent, Eric Battaillie, Erwan Nigon, Sylvain Guintoli, Gregory LeFort and Hugo Marchand.

The favourite out of the bunch this season is undoubtedly De Puniet, who admits the pressure is on to improve on his tally of three wins in 2003 and challenge for the title. "I have a different mentality this season because I know what I am capable of and I am starting the season with the championship as my clear objective," commented the 23 year old. "Obviously it will be very tough because, not only are there many of my French compatriots in the class, but also many factory riders and World Champions with the same goal. It will be a difficult season but we are working hard now to make sure we are in the best possible condition when the real racing begins in South Africa."

* Photo (L-R): Eric Battaillie, Erwan Nigon, Randy De Puniet, Arnaud Vincent, Sylvain Guintoli, Gregory LeFort, Hugo Marchand.

250cc, 2004

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