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Stoner takes first victory with KTM in Australia

Stoner takes first victory with KTM in Australia

Stoner takes first victory with KTM in Australia

After the first Grand Prix victory of his career at Valencia one month ago, new KTM signing Casey Stoner took his first win for the Austrian factory in an Australian dirt track race last week. The 18 year old picked up a 450cc cross bike on his return home from Spain and collected a win and a second place on his first competitive appearance aboard the distinctive orange and black livery.

"The bike was incredible – all we did was put a new rear tyre on it, take two clicks of compression off the front suspension and adjust the gearing a little bit and it was set up perfectly for dirt track," explained Stoner, who won the 125cc Rookie of the Year after finishing eighth in the championship. "I was racing against the Australian Long Track Champion and a few other fast guys who were extra determined to beat me, so the competition was pretty tough but I enjoyed it. There is another race at the start of December but I won't be able to compete because it is too close to my first winter tests."

Stoner is set to fly to Europe on the 7th December for a three-day shakedown session with the KTM Grand Prix outfit at Estoril and revealed that he was looking forward to the challenge. "It is quite a big thing for me because I'll be travelling over to Europe without my parents for the first time in four years, meeting a completely new team and riding a completely new bike but I really can't wait to get started. I met most of the guys at Valencia and they seemed really nice, and it will be important to try and build a relationship with them as quickly as possible. I guess I will come away from Estoril either feeling very excited about the season or knowing that I have a lot of work to do over the winter – but either way I am anxious to get on with it."

In the meantime, the youngster will be trying to fight the tedium of the off-season interval and enjoy an unusually dull summer at his home near Sydney. "The weather really hasn't picked up here at all yet and the fishing season hasn't started, so I'm finding it hard to find things to do. Really all I'm thinking about is getting to Estoril in a few weeks' time and starting my work with KTM – it should be a massive season for me and I am determined to give it everything."

125cc, 2003, Casey Stoner

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