Teenager Toni Elias says he needs to toughen up to cope with the extra power and weight of the 250 he’ll ride in 2002, compared to the 125 he came close to taking the title on in 2001.
Elias, who spared no fairing paint in his bid for the 125 title, had his first taste of his 2002 Aprilia RSV in Spain last week.
The 19-year-old, who ended his debut season third overall in 125s, put in more than 140 laps around Valencia and posted a best time of 1:38.23, second fastest of all the 250 riders there.
He said: " My first impression of the 250 is quite positive. I thought it was going to be more difficult, but it felt like as if I’d always ridden the bike.
" I was having to work really hard to control it because of the weight and power difference. It might have been easier if I didn’t have to worry about the wet conditions so much. I’m keen to see how the bike performs when conditions are perfect. "
Only his new team-mate Fonsi Nieto went quicker, and even established 250 riders like Franco Battaini and Roberto Locatelli went slower than Elias, though they completed less laps.
The teenager added: " I need to improve my fitness to cope with the extra demands of the heavier and more powerful 250. "