Randy de Puniet targets factory scalps

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Randy de Puniet says his priority for 2012 is to finish top CRT rider and at some races defeat the new 1000cc factory prototypes after an encouraging test in Jerez this week.

The Frenchman ended the three-day private test in Spain with an unofficial best time of 1.40.3 on board the new Aprilia ART machine he will campaign for the Aspar squad.

His best lap was less than a second from Spaniard Dani Pedrosa’s 2010 lap record of 1.39.731, giving hope that not all new CRT machines will be completely outclassed this year.

Some of the new machines, which features heavily tuned production 1000cc engines in prototype chassis, have been blown away by the factory prototypes from Honda, Yamaha and Ducati in winter testing.

Former LCR Honda rider de Puniet though was only 0.3s behind Hector Barbera’s satellite Ducati GP12 in Jerez and he told MCN: “The bike is at a good level. I would like to be faster like everybody but my first target is to be the first CRT and to either be very close or to beat the slowest factory bikes.

“I think it will be possible if some riders are not so fast but at fast tracks like Qatar, Barcelona and Sepang it will be very difficult because up to fourth gear there is big difference in engine performance.

“The engine and the electronics are the biggest difference between the prototypes and CRT. It is a big challenge but I am up for it and I am motivated to do a good season.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt