Sebasti?n Porto signs with Honda for 2003

Sebasti?n Porto signs with Honda for 2003

The Argentinian driver Sebastián Porto, who competed in the 250cc Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix (MOTOGP), signed a contract with the team of the ex-driver Alberto Puig and will have one of the two factory Honda for 2003. The other ...

The Argentinian driver Sebasti?n Porto, who competed in the 250cc Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix (MOTOGP), signed a contract with the team of the ex-driver Alberto Puig and will have one of the two factory Honda for 2003. The other will be for Italian rider Roberto Rolfo, who finished third in the 2002 season.

On Friday morning in Barcelona, Spain in the office of Paco S?nchez, manager of Porto, an agreement with Alberto Puig was reached. The bike of Sebasti?n will have direct support from the competition department of Honda HRC.

Sebastian Porto.
Photo by Richard Sloop.

Porto ran with the Yamaha Sprinta Petronas team in 2002 and finished fifth after five podiums; Sachsenring, Brno, Estoril, Phillip Island, and the Grand Prix of Brazil which was his first victory in the series.

Porto, 24 years, commented "We closed with Honda because it was the best choice to define at this now. It was also the possibility of going with Aprilia, whose teams were this year with Franco Battaini and Lucio Cechinello as the riders, but the contract was not too clear; especially with the budget. They must look for sponsors and they have nothing yet. I didn`t like that. But with Honda I closed immediately and they put me in one of their teams, who already have sponsors.

"Aprilia have the advantage that is is a winning bike team and Honda must start from zero with the 250 RSW and we don`t now about it's potential. I trust in the prestige of Honda and because they want to finish with the ahead of Aprilia."

In May 7, 1995, Alberto Puig became the first Spaniard to win in the category of 500cc. It was in Jerez driving a Honda and leaving behind drivers like Mike Doohan, Luca Cadaldora, etc. In that same season Puig had a very important accident at the circuit of Le Mans while traveling at 270 Km/h. Puig suffered serious injuries to his legs. Puig continued running during the 1996 and 1997 seasons with Honda, but in 1998 he started a project with Movistar of Spain to put Spanish drivers in the World Championship. One of the drivers was Dani Pedrosa who had a brilliant season in the 1998 125cc World Championship.

In 2003 Puig will have only the two drivers: Sebasti?n Porto in 250cc and Dani Pedrosa in 125cc. As a Team Manager, Puig is considered very exigent: "I know I give 101% so I want the same from the rest of the team."

Alberto is very seduced with this new challenge because in the last years he worked a lot with drivers under 20 years old. About the election of Porto he said, "I`m very motivated to work with a driver with experience, I know we will communicate very well."

He also remarked what things impressed him of the Argentinian, "He goes very fast, his level of concentration in the moment of the race, his coolness in the important moments. It is enough to see what he done this year with a bike, he is far ahead of his level."

In December, the team's mechanics will go to HRC in Japan to study all about the new Honda 250 RSW. Then during the european winter, we will be very hard at work with pre-season tests.

"I promised Sebas that he will have a very demanding schedule in the winter. All of my team members are ready to work with Sebasti?n. When we received the Honda from Japan, I think it will be after the end of the year and we will start to test. We must develop a new bike. With Sebas we will get a winner bike," said Puig.

Sebasti?n Porto has a dream. He want to became in the first Argentinian World Champion in the "Continental Circus".

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Series MOTOGP