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Positive test for KTM at Almeria

Positive test for KTM at Almeria

Positive test for KTM at Almeria

Casey Stoner and Mika Kallio kick-started their preseason testing programme in Spain this weekend, with KTM team officials reporting positive results despite difficult weather conditions at the Almeria circuit. High winds and cool track temperatures restricted the two riders to a total of 70 laps, but that was enough for Technical Director Harald Bartol to declare himself satisfied with a first shakedown for the 2004 version of the Austrian manufacturers' 125cc road racing machine.

"The chassis we used at Almeria was very similar to the one we tested before Christmas, but we had some major suspension updates, a completely new engine and new aerodynamics," commented Bartol. "The engine has a new crankshaft, layout and balancer shaft and it performed well. We experienced some small problems with the data recording but in the end it was quite a good test for us. The bike is in good condition at this early stage and we are hoping for more improvements before the first IRTA tests at the end of the month, when we will have two extra machines available."

Bartol added that it was difficult to evaluate the performance of his two young riders at this stage of the preseason, especially at a track which does not features on the 125cc World Championship calendar, but revealed that he was confident they are both capable of mounting a serious push for the title. "It is difficult to evaluate our chances at the moment - we will have a better idea after the official tests when we see what Aprilia and Honda have to offer. From what I have seen so far from Casey and Mika has been very encouraging though, and I see no reason why they can't both be up there. I'm looking forward to seeing them in action against the other riders on a Grand Prix circuit."

Whilst KTM battled with the wind in southern Spain, similar conditions on the western coast of the Iberian peninsular hindered several of their 125cc rivals at Estoril. Aprilia riders Pablo Nieto, Sergio Gadea and Youichi Ui were joined at the Portuguese track by Honda youngster Andrea Dovizioso and factory Derbi riders Giorgio Lorenzo and Angel Rodriguez, although the test turned out to be of little use as intermittent showers coupled with strong sea breezes restricted them to mainly wet weather testing.

125cc, 2003

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