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Experienced heads analyse 250cc graduates' progress

Experienced heads analyse 250cc graduates' progress

One of the key features of the start of the 2008 season has been the remarkable pace at which Jorge Lorenzo and his fellow quarter litre category graduate Andrea Dovizioso have commenced their MotoGP adventures - with plenty of opinion throughout the paddock on the new arrivals in the premier class.

One of the key features of the start of the 2008 season has been the remarkable pace at which 250cc World Champion Jorge Lorenzo and his fellow quarter litre category graduate Andrea Dovizioso have commenced their MotoGP adventures - with plenty of opinion throughout the paddock on the new arrivals in the premier class.

Lorenzo's two pole positions, which have resulted in two podium finishes, and Dovizioso's disappointment at finishing eighth in Jerez after outdoing Valentino Rossi to finish fourth in Qatar speak volumes for the two riders.

Meanwhile, the third arrival from the 250cc category in MotoGP this year is Alex de Angelis, who is sure to have a key role with San Carlo Honda Gresini following some encouraging winter test results - in spite of his less spectacular GP results thus far, a DNF at Losail and 14th in Jerez.

The ride-ability of the current generation of 800cc MotoGP bikes, the thorough preseason testing programmes undertaken by all teams in the premier class, knowledge of the circuits and the pure ability of the riders themselves are all said to be contributing elements to the success of the likes of Lorenzo and Dovizioso.

However, former double 250cc World Champion Sito Pons says the trend of quick adaptation is not exclusive to this season, commenting, `The bikes are much easier to ride with the 4-stroke, with all the electronics helping. It´s not the first time we have seen this, because Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner started two years ago and were leading and winning races.´

`I think the 250cc bikes are actually slightly more difficult to ride,´ continues Pons, `but the lines and the way to ride the two types of machine are quite similar.´

Meanwhile, Sporting Director of the Red Bull MotoGP Academy Alberto Puig, who has made massive contributions to the careers of Stoner and Pedrosa, amongst many others, follows a similar line.

`I think the current bikes are ride-able,´ says Puig. `In the past the 2-strokes were almost unrideable! I´m not saying it is easy, it is just easier than in the 2-stroke era. The kids who are fast in 250cc class come up to professional teams and they give them good bikes with good tyres, so they are fast.´

Professionalism is also a factor which has caught the eye of Michelin´s Jean-Phillipe Weber, though in his case he highlights the mature approach of the riders themselves, saying of Dovizioso in particular, `He wants to get the best from his bike, his tyres and himself.´

`We were really amazed by the way he was so aggressive in Qatar. He asks a lot of questions and wants to know a lot about the tyres. He works in a professional way and we are really happy to have these rookies onboard this year,´ enthused the French tyre boss.

The 1999 500cc World Champion Alex Criville, meanwhile, stressed how difficult it was in his riding days to become accustomed to the machines used in the premier class, commenting, `I think with the 500cc bikes it was different and it took a year or a year and a half to understand them. In MotoGP now the best riders still win but the learning process is short.´

In addition, former World Championship participant Ralf Waldmann, who has returned to the paddock this year in a technical role with Grizzly Gas Kiefer Racing, adds light-heartedly, `The feeling they get on the 250cc bikes is also very good for the MotoGP bikes at the moment. I remember the old times with the 500cc 2-stroke bikes, this would have been impossible. Before you got near the front you broke your collarbone 20 times!´

Tags:
MotoGP, 2008, GRAN PREMIO bwin.com DE ESPAÑA, Andrea Dovizioso, Jorge Lorenzo, James Toseland, Alex de Angelis

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