Ellison geared up to start

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    Ellison is the only Briton competing in MotoGP in 2006
    James Ellison says he cannot wait for the new MotoGP season to get underway at Spain’s Jerez circuit this weekend so he can show the world just what he is capable of.

    Last year saw the 25-year-old Cumbrian make his debut in motorcycling’s top-level competition, riding for the WCM Blata team.

    But despite being on an uncompetitive bike, Ellison showed enough promise to earn a move to Yamaha’s privateer Tech-3 team, riding alongside Spain’s Carlos Checa, the most experienced rider on this season’s grid.

    Ellison said the step up to Yamaha was a big challenge, but one he was enjoying.

    “I’ve obviously got a better bike, and although I had a good team last year, it’s a bit more professional now,” he told the BBC.

    I thought Rossi would meet his match this year, but now I don’t think he has

    “It’s a lot to take in. Obviously it’s good, but it’s just taking a while to get used to everything.”

    Ellison will be the sole Briton on the MotoGP grid this season, and admitted even he had been surprised by the speed of his rise through the ranks.

    “If you look back, it was only two years ago that I was in British Superbikes, not knowing where my career was going and just trying to get any ride I could to try and get a chance like this, so it’s fantastic.

    “As soon as I got on this bike, it was a lot faster.

    “I’ve no experience on a GP bike, because last year’s bike was more similar to a Superbike. This is a completely different style, so I’ve got to adapt to the bike and get the best out of it.”

    Although he is riding for the same manufacturer as world champion Valentino Rossi, the fact they use different tyres means team-mate Checa’s performances are of more relevance and guidance to Ellison.

    “Carlos is the guy we compare ourselves to,” he said.

    “Although Valentino’s team have the same bike, they have different tyres so the data’s not really any use to me.”

    Once we get the first race over with I’ll be fine. I just need to race someone and battle

    Despite his excited anticipation of the coming season, Ellison is reluctant to say how he will perform – but the sooner he gets started, the better.

    “I wouldn’t really like to say until the first race at Jerez where I’m going to finish,” he said.

    “At the moment, we’re just trying to get used to the bike and develop race tyres, ones which will last race distance.

    “Once we get the first race over with I’ll be fine.

    “I just need to race someone and battle – it’s the same in practice, if you’re on your own, you can’t really get the best out of it.

    “Every rider’s the same, it’s because of the competitiveness inside us – you need something to chase.

    “So I’m looking forward to the first race to see what we’re capable of.”

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