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West Honda Pons officially unveil 2002 line-up in Valencia

West Honda Pons officially unveil 2002 line-up in Valencia

West Honda Pons officially unveil 2002 line-up in Valencia

Last night saw the West Honda Pons set-up officially unveil both the riders, and the new bikes which will represent the team in the forthcoming and much anticipated MotoGP season. In what was an elegant ceremony held near the Ricardo Tormo circuit in Valencia, last years' riders, Loris Capirossi and Alex Barros, were again confirmed to the assembled press-pack, along with their machines - 2002 spec Honda NSR500s.

While the presentation of both Barros and Capirossi did not represent much of a surprise, despite pre-season paddock talk linking Capirossi with a move away from Honda, team boss Sito Pons was happy to confirm news of a new sponsorship deal sealed with Exxon Mobil's 'Mobil 1' brand. The affable former 250cc champion hailed the link-up as another piece in the championship jigsaw, and confirmed his belief that this season the West Honda Pons team are capable of providing the individual winner in the inaugural MotoGP class.

'We are very excited about the new season. Last season we were very successful, both Alex and Loris achieved good results by coming third and forth in the individual championship and we were also the best team, but we are looking to improve again,' said the team boss. 'We've tested the new bike and already it has been faster than last season, we are very satisfied with it.'

Both Barros and Capirossi will be present at the IRTA tests which begin today, and many eyes will be on them as they clash for the first time with 4 stroke machinery of both the Yamaha (Biaggi and Checa) and Aprilia (Laconi) factories in what promises to be a most intriguing first peek into the forthcoming season.

500cc, 2001, Anthony West

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