It's just over seven month since a harbour-side launch where Sito Pons proudly announced his new team line-up, just three weeks before the start of the 2003 MotoGP season.

At the launch, Camel were unveiled as the team's new title sponsor, while riders Max Biaggi (formerly of Marlboro Yamaha) and Tohru Ukawa (ex-Repsol Honda) sported their new yellow livery for the very first time.

"It is our first season with a completely new project - both new sponsors and riders," began Sito. "Overall it has been quite a good start. It of course could have been better but it also could have been a lot worse. Overall the results have been pretty satisfactory. With one race to go we've won two grands prix, finished on the podium nine times and we are second in the Team Championship."

Without a doubt, the highlight of the year so far for the popular Barcelona-based outfit was Biaggi's victory at the Pacific Grand Prix. Significantly, it was the team's second successive win at Motegi, the home of Honda.

"It's always a great feeling to win a grand prix but to win at the home of Honda for the second year in succession was very special," admitted Pons, who saw Alex Barros win for the team at Motegi last year on his very first appearance with the RC 211V four-stroke.

Biaggi's much heralded return to Honda was always going to take time to gel: The Italian rider's total dedication and endless desire has brought him 41 grands prix victories, but also the reputation of a rider who knows what he wants from a team.

Fortunately, Pons understands these principles because it was that same attitude and desire that brought him two world 250cc titles, as a rider, back in the eighties.

"We've been working with Max for almost one year and we are getting to know each other much better," explained the Spaniard. "It's taken time to optimise our personalities but we are both pushing in the same direction. We both want to win and the results are getting better all the time."

While world champion Valentino Rossi keeps the pack waiting about his whereabouts next season, planning for next year is a nightmare for the teams - and Camel Pramac Pons are no exception. However, Sito now expects Biaggi to remain for a second term and hopefully take his first premier-class crown.

"I'm sure Max will be with us next year and we are discussing with everybody concerned what our plans are going to be," revealed Pons, "We are doing everything we can to ensure we have a team capable of bringing Max that World title."

Meanwhile, it's been a tough year for the Roman's team-mate Tohru Ukawa, and his MotoGP future looks in real doubt with Honda rumoured to replace the Japanese former GP winner after this weekend's season finale at Valencia.

"I feel very sorry for Tohru because he's had no luck and we need more time with him," said Pons. "I know we can improve his results but for one reason or another it has just not happened."

While he works on his 2004 line-up, Pons has absolutely no doubts that MotoGP is providing the perfect stage for his team and riders to perform. In his opinion, the switch to four-strokes two years ago has proved a master stroke.

"I think it's been a perfect MotoGP season with a super show for the whole world to enjoy," he enthused. "I think the Championship has taken a massive step forward this year compared to other seasons.

"The four-strokes are amazing with their speed and noise and the Championship has been much more equal this year. There have been new riders such as Colin Edwards and Troy Bayliss and new manufacturers such as Ducati. The World-wide interest is phenomenal and the future looks very good indeed," concluded Pons.

 

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