Sito Pons' new 250cc project gathers pace this week as Héctor Barberá and Axel Pons, son of the former double World Champion, undertake their opening track workouts of the 2009 preseason at Barcelona's Montmeló circuit - over the next 48 hours.
the Pons structure's 125cc riders have already made their 2009 test debuts - Nico Terol and Simone Corsi tested at Valencia last week – their 250cc counterparts have had to wait a little longer for their new Aprilias which have now finally been delivered to the team in Spain.
For Barberá the Barcelona test will be his first on-track appearance on prototype machinery since his serious accident in the A-Style Grand Prix of Japan last year, in which had fractured three vertebrae. The rider from Valencia will have an Aprilia RSA 250cc machine at his disposal this season and will work with talented crew chief Rossano Brazzi, as he embarks on his fifth season in the quarter litre category.
“I have had a long, hard slog since the accident, but the main thing was just to make sure I could get back to 100% fitness. I'm really looking forward to it and I want to enjoy myself on the new bike”, Barberá commented this week.
“It will be a tough campaign, as the World Champion and runner-up, Marco Simoncelli and Álvaro Bautista, are both staying in the class”, Barberá continued. “They are great riders just like Alex Debón, Mattia Pasini, Hector Faubel, Roberto Locatelli and so on. They are all race winners and other riders will also be looking to improve their results so it is going to be really competitive. I'm really up for it. Last year I was up with the front boys and that's where I aim to be this season too.”
Barberá's new, young, team-mate Axel Pons, meanwhile, makes his 250cc debut this year having had an eventful time in 2008. The teenager made three guest appearances in the 125cc category last year, but his career was put on hold for several months due to a horrific crash at a Spanish national championship (CEV) event.
Now, like Barberá, fully recovered from the injuries he suffered, the young Pons commented, “It feels like a dream coming true.
After a long period away, getting back to riding means a lot to me and those around me. I know it will be another hard year but I really want to keep learning race by race. I feel lucky to be in the same team as Hector who I know will be a reference point for me.”