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MotoGPFebruary 3, 2003

FIM 2003 Road Race Championship Series and the MotoGP Class

In the MotoGP class of the FIM 2003 Road Race Championship Series (known as the GP World Championship), Honda is aiming for its third straight title1. Here is an outline of how Honda plans to meet this challenge.

Last year in the MotoGP class we won 14 of 16 races and took both the rider and manufacturer titles. This year we will further strengthen our front line by using the RC211V bike for all seven entries by our four racing teams.

In 2002 the Repsol Honda Team was crowned champion, and in 2003 riders Valentino Rossi (#46, Italy) and Nicky Hayden (#69, USA) will lead the way in an effort to duplicate this feat. Rossi dominated last year's series, racking up 11 victories on his way to his second consecutive title. He is now hungry for three in a row. Hayden was also impressive last year, becoming the youngest winner ever of the AMA Superbike Championship Series. His sights are now set on being a champion in the MotoGP class.

The Camel Pramac Pons Team has a completely new roster of riders. Max Biaggi (#3, Italy), who last year fought hard and held onto second place until the final race, will be joined by Tohru Ukawa (#11, Japan). Both Biaggi and Ukawa won races last season, experiences that should help them in their quest for victory in 2003.

Team Telefonica Movistar Honda features the promising young rider Daijiro Kato (#74, Japan), who, in his first year, made it to the winner's podium on his way to being named Rookie of the Year for 20022. New face Sete Gibernau (#15, Spain) will join Kato in vying for honors in their new MotoGP class.

The Pramac Honda Team is now led by Makoto Tamada (#6, Japan). Although new to MotoGP, Tamada, who will ride atop Bridgestone tires3, took the overall title on the Japanese legs of the FIM Superbike Championship Series in both 2001 and 2002.

*1 Although designated as 500cc in 2001, the class name was changed to MotoGP in 2002.
*2 The Rookie of the Year title is given to the first-year rider deemed to have had the best overall performance during the year.
*3 The Repsol, Camel, and Telefonica teams use Michelin tires.

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