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Bartol quashes Porto link and hints at De Rosa arrival

Bartol quashes Porto link and hints at De Rosa arrival

KTM Team Manager Harald Bartol has brushed off talk of his providing a platform for Sebastian Porto´s proposed World Championship return.

An off-hand comment from Harald Bartol added fuel to the fire of press speculation linking KTM with a move for Sebastian Porto in 2009, but the Austrian has been swift to reiterate that the connection between the factory and the former 250cc star is limited to a semi-serious offer of a test ride.

`I was asked about the rider, and I said that we have winter testing at Valencia; if he was there and wanted a go on the bike, then we would see,´ explained the Team Manager. `To be honest, he´s not on the list, and I would be very surprised if he were to be able to ride as fast as we need.´

Nonetheless, it appears that Bartol will have to be on the lookout for another factory rider for next season. Mika Kallio appears to be edging closer to the exit in order to achieve his MotoGP aspirations, with only Hiroshi Aoyama confirmed for 2009.

`We still have a contract with Hiro, and we are maybe looking for a young rider to put on the second bike. We are negotiating with Raffaele de Rosa.

`Our initial plan is to run two 250cc and two 125cc factory machines again, but I really don´t know what (KTM CEO) Mr. Pierer is planning, but I know that he is very disappointed that there will be no 250cc bikes in two years,´ added Bartol, referring to the decision to run a 600cc prototype category as of 2011.

250cc, 2008, Raffaele de Rosa, Red Bull KTM 250

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