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Official presentation of the Pramac Team Honda takes place near Siena, Italy

Official presentation of the Pramac Team Honda takes place near Siena, Italy

Official presentation of the Pramac Team Honda takes place near Siena, Italy

The world's press gathered in the Tuscan countryside earlier today for the presentation of a new MotoGP team which will be running for the first time this season. The outfit is owned by the Pramac Group, Honda Europe's largest industrial client, and will run one 500cc V4 Honda from its headquarters in Casole d'Elsa, Italy. Based in the province of Siena, the factory has seen one part of its warehouse space taken over by the newly-formed racing team, which now boasts a fully fitted workshop within the confines of the main warehouse.

On board the NSR500, which was today shown off in full livery for the first time, will be ex-250cc World Champion Tetsuya Harada. The experienced Japanese rider returns to the elite category of MotoGP, but for his first ride on a four-cylinder machine after having ridden the Aprilia twin in 1999. Twingeing from pain in the collarbone he re-fractured in Estoril two weeks back he admitted, "Getting used to the four-cylinder is more difficult than I thought it would be; it has been a difficult beginning to the season." However the modest yet resilient Harada remarked, "I will travel to Barcelona for the tests this weekend and try and get some more work in. I think that once we get the settings right we can do well."

The team has an experienced crew behind it with a mix of English and Japanese mechanics all with previous 500cc experience, and who will be knitted together by Team Manager Gianluca Cecchetti. The Italian added to Harada's comments, "People have to remember that the team is only three months old and it will take time for results to come. Tetsuya is a very precise rider and likes things to be perfect on the bike, and once we satisfy his needs, we know he can go very quick."

The Pramac Group is looking to launch its name on a global scale through this racing project, and it already has bases in twelve separate nations. The company, which specialises in lifting and power machinery, is run by Italian Paolo Campinoti, who explained why a business which isn't producing a mainstream commercial product is interested in MotoGP's opportunities for sponsorship, "Motorcycling is increasingly becoming a sport of many factors; if from one point of view it is true we are producing and selling a product which is not widely used, from another point of view we are engaging in a project to place our trademark on a worldwide level."

MotoGP, 2002

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