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Russia in MotoGP: first test rides in Portugal

On March 15-17, Vector Racing Team pilot and the first Russian MotoGP pilot Vladimir Leonov will for the first time ever participate in private team rides with Aprilia RSW 250.

This year, the 21-year-old Russian will have a debut ride in the 250cc class and be part of Germany’s Viesmann Kiefer Racing team for the entire year. But we should explain a bit here. Even though all official protocols will have the German team name in front of Leonov, in fact he will actually continue fighting for Russia’s Vector Racing Team, which he has been part of for the past two seasons in the Superstock (world tournament) and Supersport (German championship) classes. A special agreement giving the green light to such a deal was signed between the two motorbike teams in mid-February.

Vladimir Leonov was quoted as saying: “I’m set to try the Aprilia 250cc bike for the first time in Estoril (Portugal). I used to ride a 4-stroke bike, and now I will have a 2-stroke one. Of course, I will have to make some adjustments to my techniques, and choose a different path. During the first tests, I will have to get used to the new bike and the way it behaves on the road. I can’t tell you now how this is all going to work out for me, but I can definitely say I can’t wait to be on the track.”

Prior to the tests, Leonov visited Viesmann Kiefer Racing in Frankfurt, saw its bikes and met his new partner, 19-year-old German rider Stefan Bradl. Last year, Bradl won in two MotoGP tournaments in the 125cc class and ended the season with the 4th ranking. He will ride in the same category in 2009 and is considered one of the most likely championship winners. As far as Vladimir Leonov is concerned, he will ride in a ‘higher’ 250cc class and be the first Russian rider ever to make it to MotoGP.

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