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Simoncelli: “I can’t afford to relax this year”

Simoncelli: “I can’t afford to relax this year”

Italian starts 2009 testing aware of challenge in retaining 250cc title.

Marco Simoncelli returned to action in 250cc testing at Valencia this week, having skipped a previously planned visit to the Spanish track. The reigning World Champion of the quarter-litre class put in 73 laps on his first day back at work, with the fastest time of his six rivals present –a strategy that he intends to keep up in his title defending year.

“I’m going to try and become a two-time champion,” said Simoncelli after a tiring day spent working on bike confidence and new parts.

“Last year nobody had me down as a favourite, but this time everybody has me on their list of contenders. I can’t afford to relax, because (Alvaro) Bautista has done some very good tests –likewise (Gabor) Talmacsi and (Mike) Di Meglio.”

“Even though those two are rookies, they are World Champions. I will need to be alert and not give an inch at all times,” warns the Metis Gilera rider, already renowned for his hard riding style.

Simoncelli concludes his testing schedule for the week on Friday.

250cc, 2009

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