Red Bull KTM factory riders Mika Kallio and Hiroshi Aoyama launched their bid for the 2008 250 cc world title with solid results in the first pre-season tests at Jerez. The rivals and teammates came in fastest and second fastest on day three.
Both riders were positive about the outcome of the first session and Mika Kallio, who put in the fastest lap of 143.303 noted: “It’s good to be in front of the Aprilias. We didn’t push too hard on the first and second day. We concentrated on going faster into the fast corners and we made some improvements on the suspension.”
Multiple laps and improved times
Kallio put in 55, 50 and 57 laps respectively over the three days and Aoyama was on his bike for 68, 57 and 79 laps. Aoyama, who came in second fastest on day three with a time of 1:43.517, said he was feeling positive. “This was the first time back on the bike since my holiday in Japan so I had to get the feeling back on day one. It was already better on the second day and the third day was good. We worked on the handling and we put in some good lap times,” Hiroshi said.
Julian Simon back on a KTM
Also out on his Repsol KTM factory machine was Spanish rider Julian Simon who was onboard a 125 cc KTM factory bike in 2005 and 2006. Overall KTM will have a much bigger presence on the grids in the 2008 season supporting a number of teams in addition to the official factory team. Simon said he was very happy to be back on a KTM machine “I need more time to get used to the bike but already the chassis is easier in the corners. I expect to be in good shape for the start of the season.”
All set for Valencia
The factory team, together with more of the KTM supported teams will be back on the track next weekend at nearby Valencia. Looking ahead Aoyama said the team was working well together and would be able to build on the data they collected this weekend. “It’s a different circuit, it’s faster, but we will still be able to build on the information we collected this weekend,” the Japanese rider confirmed.
Repsol KTM riders also present in 125cc
Along with Julian Simon in the 250 cc class were his two young teammates in 125 cc - Esteve Rabat and Marc Marquez who took advantage of the Jerez tests to get to know the bikes they will be riding in the 2008 season.
Day Three Results – 250 cc Test in Jerez
- 1. Mika Kallio, Finland, KTM 1:43.303
- 2. Hiroshi Aoyama, Japan, KTM 1:43.517
- 3. Hector Barbera, Spain, Aprilia, 1:43.575
- 4. Alex Debon, Spain, Aprilia, 1:43.644
- 5. Alvaro Bautista, Spain, Aprilia, 1:43.735
- 11. Julian Simon, Repsol KTM, 1:44.500