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Alex Barros reflects on his career after making his 200th GP appearance

Alex Barros reflects on his career after making his 200th GP appearance

Alex Barros reflects on his career after making his 200th GP appearance

Brazilian rider Alex Barros last weekend clocked up his 200th Grand Prix, and took the opportunity to relfect on his distinguished career. The West Honda Pons man has contested more races than any other rider in the top class, with his Italian team-mate Loris Capirossi, who recently brought his career points total to over 2000, second in line on 176. On Saturday, after the final qualifying session for the Gran Premi Marlboro de Catalunya, Barros was surprised by his team, who threw a celebratory party in his honour. was on hand to chat to the man of the moment about his career and his hopes for the future.

`It doesn´t feel like 200 GPs – more like 20!´ he smiled. `It doesn´t even feel like I´ve been around long enough to contest so many races. To be honest I still feel like a youngster. I have a young mentality and I find it difficult to believe that I am 31. Physically I have improved with time because I have changed my training methods over the last couple of years with the help of a personal trainer. When people pointed out the number of GPs I just basically felt appreciative of all the teams who have made it possible for me to ride over the years´.

The Sao Paulo-born rider says of his rich and varied career; ´I have been competing for 19 years, and I think I have always managed to remain competing with the top riders. I´ve been through a lot of different phases in my career, and ridden for many different teams, and of course I would have liked to have won more races… but I´m happy with what I´ve achieved. I spent three years with Cagiva, and don´t get me wrong, but it was difficult to be competitive with the kit that we had. By contrast, during my time with Lucky Strike Suzuki (´93 and ´94 seasons) I was fortunate enough to always have the same material available as Kevin Schwantz. With Kanemoto, although I realise what a great technician he is, I don´t think we had the chemistry that he´d with other riders. After that, I rode a two-cylinder bike for Gresini, and again it wasn´t a winning machine. I do get the feeling I could have won more races if I had been on better bikes during my career´, opined Barros.

The Brazilian, who has been with the Honda Pons set-up since 1999, is also realistic about his chances aboard the NSR500 this season, in the face of the arrival of the all powerful 4-stroke prototypes in the new MotoGP category. ´It´s obvious that the 4-strokes have an advantage, especially the Honda RC211V. The truth is that races are now uneven for the 2-stroke riders, as those machines have now had their day. The new Yamaha and Suzuki bikes are also developing very quickly, but I understand that I can only do my best on the machinery I am provided with. At times it is difficult as you have targets in mind, and it´s demoralizing when you have to face the reality. I always keep myself motivated though, because when a rider loses his will to win he is finished. I´d love to win a race this year, and there are some circuits that favour the 2-strokes, so I will be doing all I can to achieve that. I don´t know if it´s possible, but I will be trying´.

MotoGP, 2002, Alex Barros

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