Less than a day after taking victory with FC Barcelona in their Champions League match against Chelsea in London on Wednesday, football ace Samuel Eto'o headed for Hotel Gran Meliá Palace in Palma de Mallorca to help launch Fortuna Aprilia's 2006 250cc campaign.
"My favourite rider for the title? These two," commented the Cameroon forward - who scored the winning goal against Chelsea - of Fortuna Aprilia riders Jorge Lorenzo and Héctor Barberá.
Lorenzo finished fifth in his debut 2005 250cc season, with Fortuna Honda, after taking four second place finishes and two further podiums - but no wins. With arch rival Dani Pedrosa stepping up to MotoGP this year, the Spaniard has clear goals for 2006.
"I think I'm amongst the favourites this year but predictions and favourable odds count for nothing if you don't go out there and prove them right every day," said the straight talking Spaniard. "I'm just preparing to be the best and from there we will see who our rivals are and which riders can make things difficult for us in the races.
"For now I prefer to concentrate on myself and just try to go as fast as possible. I'm in a team with aspirations of winning the world title. We are one of the most professional outfits in the world championship paddock and we will be expected to give our best in every race," he added.
Team-mate Barbera had a less successful 2005, finishing ninth in the points with no podium finishes, and is eager to bounce back to the top step of the podium in 2006.
"My goal is to become world champion," he declared. "The way to achieve that is to improve every day and enjoy myself on the bike. If the good results arrive then we can start to look at my rivals and come up with the best strategy to achieve the dream of every rider. I'm really excited about this year and I can't wait to work and to make progress. When you are running up at the front everybody wants to help out so I aim to be competitive from the first session at Jerez."
"I want to thank the Balearic Government for the facilities they have put on for us to host this event in Palma de Mallorca," stated team director Dani Amatriaín. "It is an important day because we are starting a new project, this time as the official factory Aprilia team, which will allow us to be competitive and fight for the World Championship title. Thanks to the support of Fortuna and Lotus this entire project has taken on a dimension which makes it one of the most competitive in the world."
"We are at the start of a great project and we want to lend our support to the great job being done by Dani's team," declared Aprilia Racing sporting manager Giampiero Sacchi. "It is an enormous satisfaction to have Jorge and Héctor back with Piaggio, after Jorge began his career with Derbi and Héctor with Aprilia. We hope this adventure brings much success."
Team Fortuna Aprilia will be back on track next Wednesday and Thursday at the Circuit de Catalunya for the first official IRTA Test of 2006.