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Sebastian Retires From Competition - June 15th 2006


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    The Repsol rider takes this difficult decision in view of the need to begin a new stage in his sports career.

    It's been a meditated decision, difficult but well meditated, that has been taking shape in the mind of the Argentinean rider of the Repsol Honda Team 250cc., Sebastián Porto, along these past months. The lack of freshness and motivation of the Repsol rider after so many years of competing on the highest level, together with the absence of results in this difficult start of the season, has taken Sebastián to finally set a full stop to his stage in the Motorcycling World Championship.

    Sebastián Porto had an average start of the 2006 preseason last winter, where it already became evident that he had not been able to adapt to be new motorbike. "Sebas" had also a rather strange start of the World Championship without good results, his best result being a seventh place in the Qatar Grand Prix. Wrapped up by his team and by Repsol YPF in order to try to overcome this adverse situation and achieve the expected results, Porto and all those around him have tried again and again to recover from this bad patch in order to be back on the level of competitiveness shown by the Argentinean rider in the last seasons. Finally, the rider has decided to give up, feeling deeply exhausted after 10 consecutive seasons in the Motorcycling World Championship.

    Sebastián Porto, who took part in his first World Championship race in 1994 -125cc Grand Prix of Argentina -, has raced 10 complete seasons, all of them in the 250cc class, including 7 victories, 19 podium finishes - seven 2nd and five 3rd places -, 11 pole positions and 8 fastest laps. In 2004, Porto became runner-up of the World Championship behind Dani Pedrosa.

    Sebastián Porto: "It is hard to take a difficult decision because in this world it is the last thing you would think about. You always think about continuing, trying to improve, but I think that the career of a sportsman, of everybody, finishes some day. So, well, today this day has arrived for me, probably in a rather strange way because I wouldn't have wanted it to finish. But I've always tried to do things well, and now I don't want to cheat on anybody and tell things that aren't true. I want to make clear that it's been a completely personal decision: neither the team, nor Repsol, nor Honda, nor Alberto Puig have put any pressure on me. They even have been insisting one hour ago, in the good sense, to make me continue, but I've made up my mind and it's a decision I have already accepted. I know that a stage in my life ends here, and that life goes on. I have achieved very important things in this sport; I have won races and some title. Having the pride of walking around, not only in my country, but also in Spain, and being recognised by people is priceless; it means that you have made things right and above all, that I haven't cheated on anybody. I think that it's better to stop here and keep the best I have achieved, I've won races and I've been runner-up in the Championship, which is one of the best things I have achieved."

    Alberto Puig, Manager of the Repsol Honda Team 250cc: "I think that Sebastián has taken a very important decision and above all that he's been very brave, because there are not many riders who, being in such a privileged position as his, are capable of getting off the bike in the middle of the year considering everything this means. It's a gesture to be proud of that deserves special respect due to the braveness it involves, doing something like this at this moment. As a team we're obviously not happy with it, because Sebas was our main rider; the one with whom we wanted to try and expected to win the championship. But motorbike racing is dangerous; this is not a tennis match or any other similar sport, so you cannot force somebody to get on a bike if he doesn't feel well, because he might get hurt. We have to respect his position, with sadness and a bit of anger, why shouldn't we say it. We would have liked this to work out, and all of us who are involved in this project staked for him, both the team and especially Repsol, the driving power behind the project. As regards what the team is going to do now, we really don't know, because we have used-up the very last minute, we even waited for the decision of the rider, and therefore we understand that in this Grand Prix, Sebas' bike is still Sebas' bike and we'll see what we have to do on Monday."

    Javier Inclán, Sponsorship and Motorsports Director of Repsol YPF: "The opinion of Repsol YPF has been to respect absolutely every decision of the rider. We are going to continue with Sebas, supporting him in his projects. We have a company philosophy, according to which we want to continue being bond to the people who have been defending our colours and have then quit their professional career in high level competition. Regardless of the decisions he shall take now, we want to continue with him. Repsol is a Spanish-Argentinean company, and the Argentinean ambassador in the world of motor sports has been Sebastián Porto and we, at Repsol YPF, hope that it will continue like that."