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Porto targets title challenge

Porto targets title challenge

Porto targets title challenge

Sebastián Porto returned to action after a three-month break at Jerez earlier this week and immediately set his sights on the World Championship title held by Dani Pedrosa. Porto opted not to test in November and December, preferring to return home to spend time with his family in Argentina, but says he was more than happy to get back to work.

"The test went well, I'm pleased," said Porto, who ended the three-day session with the second fastest time behind Casey Stoner. "The only thing was that it coincided with a spell of arctic weather in Spain and the conditions were poor for two of the days, with low temperatures and strong winds.

"Even so we got through a lot of work, particularly with the chassis, swingarm, suspension and a few things with the engine." Porto's best time of 1'43.816 was just two tenths short of his pole time from the Grand Prix last May but was some way short of Pedrosa's 1'42.946, set just a couple of days previously in the first Honda test of the preseason.

The 26 year old admits that he couldn't help but notice the World Champion's early form but is being careful not to be drawn into a psychological battle before the season has started.

"Dani's time? Well, you always take these things into consideration. I know that the Hondas were quick and that Dani set a very fast lap but you never know what other people are testing and at this stage the only thing I'm worried about is getting my own bike set-up. We'll see what happens when the championship gets underway in April.

"It will be a tough season. It's pretty clear that the man to beat is Pedrosa, he'll have an extra year of experience in the category and he starts as favourite. But there are also a lot of other young riders coming up from 125cc who are hungry and I think they'll adapt quickly… maybe not from the first race, but Jorge Lorenzo is already doing well and Dovizioso will also be there.

"You've also got to consider Randy de Puniet. He's got a lot of experience now and he'll be competitive. Basically, a lot of fast riders are coming together this season.

"As far as I am concerned, my objective is to fight for the championship. I spent several years trying to adapt to a new bike and new team with each new season, but this year I'm much more relaxed because this is my second season with this team and this bike and I know them well.

"There's been a few changes to the team and we had two or three people from the factory working with us at Jerez which will help us to get the bike set up quickly. Last year we had an inconsistent start to the season so this year my aim is to make sure we know which way we're going right from the opening Grand Prix."

250cc, 2005

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