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Stoner celebrates first victory by signing for KTM

Stoner celebrates first victory by signing for KTM

Stoner celebrates first victory by signing for KTM

Casey Stoner, who picked up the 125cc Rookie of the Year Award to add to his first Grand Prix winner's trophy on Sunday at Valencia, has signed to ride for KTM in the 125cc World Championship 2004. The Australian teenager will team up with Mika Kallio as part of the Austrian factory's fresh push for Grand Prix success after a disappointing season which started with reigning World Champion Arnaud Vincent alongside former champ Roberto Locatelli.

"I think we've made a good decision – their bike has been getting better and better all season so hopefully we can come out next year and fight for the championship," said Stoner, who added that he was looking forward to working for the revered 125cc tuner Harald Bartol.

"Personally I think that, alongside Jerry Burgess, Harald is the best in the business and he obviously knows how to make a motorcycle go fast, as his track record with Derbi has shown. I was behind Kallio for a couple of laps in qualifying at Valencia and I was impressed with the speed of the bike, so I am looking forward to seeing how far we can take it. In any case, it will be a massive experience for me to work with someone like Harald and I am looking forward to learning as much as possible from him."

On his debut win, Stoner admitted it was a dream fulfilled after several years of hard work. "My Mum and Dad brought me over to Europe a few years ago to compete in the British and Spanish Championships and it was a big commitment for them," explained the 18 year old, who celebrated his birthday before his home race at Phillip Island two weeks ago. "We spent a lot of hours dreaming about this first Grand Prix victory and it is a nice feeling to have done it. My true aim though is to win a MotoGP race so hopefully this can be the first step towards that goal."

125cc, 2003, Casey Stoner

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