But still in title hunt for 250cc
Red Bull KTM 250 star Mika Kallio finished fifth in Sunday's Czech Grand Prix but remains in the title hunt after his rival and world championship leader Marco Simoncelli finished third.
Kallio now trails the Italian by 16 points
with six more races to go to complete the season. Simoncelli dropped back from first to third in the final corners of the race to cut back his points tally for the race on the traditional Brno circuit.
Kallio had a strong start into the race and held third position until 10 of 20 laps. But then the 25-year-old Finn began to lose grip on his rear tyre and he was only able to defend fourth and an eventual fifth position thanks to his masterful riding skills.
Team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama also was in promising positions during the first part of the race but ran into gearbox trouble towards the end and dropped back to 13th place, right behind Spanish Repsol KTM rider Julian Simon in 12th position.
Mika Kallio (Red Bull KTM 250 - fifth)
"It wasn't a bad race, but of course we can't be happy with our final position. It was one of the most difficult races of my career. I pushed very hard to get to front and I didn't have a bad feeling with the bike at all in the first laps. I seemed to be able to close the gap to the front runners but the grip level of my rear tyre went down after only eight or nine laps. I don't know why, but I lost more grip than the others and my lap times got worse. Then the gap between me and the front runners got bigger as the rear tyre continued to go down. I tried whatever I could to stay with them including braking very, very late but it wasn't enough." The Finn said the team had gone into the race with higher expectations. "It's better for us that Simoncelli finished third, but at the same time we need to win races, this is what counts.
Hiroshi Aoyama (Red Bull KTM 250 - 13th)
"My start was good, and my positions weren't so bad up until mid race. After that I started to feel less comfortable on the bike. When other riders passed me it was very difficult for me to follow. In the end, the gearbox broke and I couldn't shift some of the gears any more but I feel still lucky because at least I was able to finish the race."
Harald Bartol (KTM Technical Director)
"We could see that Mika couldn't quite match the pace of the leaders. He tried everything and rode a really good race but he wasn't able to make a podium finish today. As far as the world championship goes, our chances are still there because Simoncelli only finished third."
Stefan Pierer (KTM CEO)
"It was an exciting race with a brilliant performance by Mika who achieved the best possible result under the circumstances considering his rear tyre problems. It was really good with just a little bit missing to make another podium finish. Luckily, we experienced some damage control when Simoncelli dropped back to third!"