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Feb 5, 2002

Katja Poensgen Hopes To Find Fourth New Team In 13 Months

<BR><BR>Although all details are not available, reports from Europe indicate that German Katja Poensgen, 25, the first woman to ever score points in the FIM 250cc Grand Prix World Championship, is without a ride.<BR><BR>In late 2001, Poensgen was announced as part of Jeff Hardwick's 2002 Shell Advance Honda squad, teaming with Spainish rider Alex Debon on factory RS250R-Ws, but due to financial difficulties, Hardwick's 250cc program has folded. Poensgen is now looking for her fourth team in 13 months.<BR><BR>Poensgen earned recognition when she finished on the podium once and in the top five three times in the 2000 FIM Superstock World Championship. Poensgen then signed to ride for the Umoto Aprilia team alongside Jeremy McWilliams in the 2001 250cc World Championship series. The Umoto team collapsed without warning leaving Poensgen at the first IRTA test without a bike to ride. Poensgen made her way onto the Dark Dog Racing Factory line-up with teammate Alex Hofmann, raced the first half of the season and scored her two World Championship points. Mid-season Poensgen and the Dark Dog Racing Factory team split company, and Poensgen was subsequently picked up by Jeff Hardwick's Shell Advance unit. <BR><BR>Hardwick had planned to run a two-rider team in the 250cc class and two riders on 500cc V-4 two-strokes in the MotoGP class in 2002. Reports indicated that Hardwick had signed Poensgen and Debon to ride factory Honda 250s, and Debon even tested one of the new bikes at Suzuka in December. But late last month, news that Hardwick's 250cc effort had folded began to leak out of Europe. Then on February 4, Hardwick was introduced in a Honda press conference in Japan as the Team Manager of Pramac Racing with Tetsuya Harada riding a Honda NSR500 in the 2002 MotoGP World Championship. <BR><BR>Poensgen and Debon are now left without rides with only two months remaining until the start of the 2002 season, but both are currently working on finding teams before the first IRTA test at Valencia starting February 15.<BR><BR>A February 4 letter from Poensgen to her fans appeared on her website, www.katja-poensgen.de, saying,<BR><BR>"Hi folks,<BR>"Where should I begin????<BR>"As you might already know, once again I have no racing-team.<BR>"No, I don't feel completely at a loss. No, I'm not crying all the time. Everything is quite normal. The only thing missing, is a team. But I won't give up. I keep reminding myself of my motto: Everything comes as it comes and better times will come.<BR>"The only thing I can do for the moment, is to wait.<BR>"Anyhow, now I know why Grand Prix's make you old. I always wondered why my colleagues look so worn-out.<BR>"-sorry-<BR>"I feel a bit tired. And I'm asking myself: Where am I? <BR>"Well, I'll find out and let you know.<BR>"Kat"<BR>