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Casey Stoner testing with KTM at Estoril

Casey Stoner testing with KTM at Estoril

Casey Stoner testing with KTM at Estoril

Casey Stoner returned to Europe this week for his first official test with KTM. The Australian teenager began a three day session at the Estoril circuit on Thursday and was delighted with the results, enjoying ideal weather conditions to quickly gain feeling with the bike - lapping around three seconds off the fastest time set during September's Portuguese Grand Prix. With temperatures of approximately 16º and low winds at one of the World Championship's most notorious meteorological destinations, Stoner admitted things couldn't have gone much better on his first day.

"I am very happy," said Stoner, who was forced to miss the Estoril race earlier this year through injury. "So far the test has been spot on – the team, the bike, everything. At the beginning the bike felt quite strange, much lighter than the Aprilia, but we changed some suspension settings and I quickly started to get a good feeling. All the mechanics are very nice and seem to know what they are doing, whilst Harald Bartol has been great – he's a very interesting guy and I think I can learn a lot from him."

Earlier this week the 18 year old paid a visit to the factory headquarters in Austria, where he remained convinced his decision to join one of the newest teams on the Grand Prix scene was the right one. "The factory was unbelievable – for me it was like being in dreamland because I have always loved KTM off-road bikes. They turn out 350 units a day, which I could hardly believe. It just goes to show what a big firm they are and I am proud to be riding for them," he concluded.

125cc, 2003, Casey Stoner

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