“A dream partnership”
Mika Kallio has re-signed with the Red Bull KTM Team for the 2008 season, with an option for the following year.
The signing took place after the San Marino and Riviera di Rimini Grand Prix in Misano last weekend.
The talented 24-year-old
Finn finalised the new contract with KTM Technical Director Harald Bartol, saying he believed that he could realise his dream of winning the world championship title with the Austrian manufacturer.
"My dream is to win the world championship, and I believe with KTM, this dream can come true", Mika said. "The team started their 250 cc project only two years ago. They started winning races last year and now we are riding with good chances of race wins and podium finishes at almost every venue. This shows the commitment and determination of every team member. The package that we now have is very good and everybody is working hard to improve it even further. I have no doubt that we will be again competitive in 2008 and that KTM is going to be a serious world championship title contender."
Kallio also praised the cooperation with Bartol, which he said has been very positive since they first met in 1993.
"Since then, it has always been very special and inspiring to work with him and his team. He has proven on numerous occasions that he is simply the best as far as two-stroke technology goes. Everybody saw how he first turned Yamaha, then Derbi into winning machines, and how fast the KTM engine was right from its first year in the world championship. He works day and night to improve our bikes and his passion for this sport is second to none.
Kallio said he viewed the fact that the KTM team and racing structure was small compared to others as "a big advantage".
"With a bigger company or team structure you sometimes have to be very patient and wait for technical improvements. But with Red Bull KTM, I simply have to talk to Harald and he can take the appropriate decisions and go ahead with new parts and alterations straight away. We find problems, and we fix them without losing any time. The team feels like a well organised family enterprise. It's just fantastic!"
Harald Bartol was also delighted with Kallio's decision to stay aboard.
"He is a great guy, uncomplicated and easy to deal with - you couldn't wish for a nicer person in a team", he said. "And of course, he is a great talent. He is fast by nature and can pretty much ride anything with two wheels and an engine."
"Mika is not only fast and intelligent when it comes to the race, he also has a deep and thorough technical understanding of what's going on underneath. He's got a good feeling for the set-up and for all technical changes to the bike, and he is able to give the engineers all the right input."
Bartol described the union as "a dream partnership for KTM, not only in terms of the further development of the bike, but also of podium finishes and race wins. Mika has the talent, the skills and the experience to win the World Championship", the Technical Director concluded.
Red Bull KTM