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Kallio still pumped after landmark result for KTM and Finland in Malaysia

Kallio still pumped after landmark result for KTM and Finland in Malaysia

Kallio still pumped after landmark result for KTM and Finland in Malaysia

After qualifying on the front row and proceeding to fight for the podium throughout the duration of the 125cc GP of Malaysia, finally scooping the runner-up spot behind new World Champion Dani Pedrosa, Mika Kallio, the 20 year old from Finland, had very good reason to be proud of his weekend's work.

The youngster has been getting faster and faster in tandem with his KTM motorcycle since making the switch to the Austrian team midway through the year after the orange squad jettisoned the disillusioned approach of defending World Champion Arnaud Vincent. He immediately posted his and the factory's best GP finish at his first race in Brno (4th) and has steadily been improving as the new 125cc project under the guidance of renowned tuner Harald Bartol has finally begun to show the promise that the KTM bosses were hinting at pre-season.

His second place at Sepang was the first podium for KTM in road racing (after seeming to earn a lifetimes worth of trophies in the off-road arena in the last ten years) and their 125cc machine, who many riders in the class (growing numbers now having to follow the orange bikes) have already commented how it's handling and speed seems impressive.

For Kallio the podium experience was a personal highlight. Not only was it his debut top three appearance at GP level (after one season of trying) but Finland's first for over twenty years; the last rider to walk on the steps was Johnny Wickstrom who finished third in the 125cc race at the Imatra circuit in Finland in 1982 riding an MBA.

"This is unbelievable especially after switching teams to KTM in August," he remarked straight afterwards. "It was a very hard race, fighting with Lorenzo all the way in very hot conditions. I made a good start and knew I could fight for the podium. On the last lap I decided to stay behind Lorenzo and hope to pass at the final corner and here I am! I'm very happy for KTM, the team has done a brilliant job."

"This result is a reward for all the hard work by everyone in team," said Bartol. "It's just ten months since we started building the new KTM machine. Mika has justified our faith in his ability and hopefully this is the platform for us to move forward and achieve even better results."

125cc, 2003, Mika Kallio

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