For the GP Down Under
Red Bull KTM GP 125 rider Mika Kallio has confirmed the excellent form of rider and technology by securing yet another pole position in the 14th Grand Prix of the season.
Already in the first qualifying, the 23-year-old Finn had bettered the 2003
lap record by 0.6 seconds at the Phillip Island/Australia circuit previously held by Stefano Perugini. Then Mika was able to underline his good performance in the second training session. Teammate, the 19-year-old Julian Simon of Spain will start at grid position 10 in Sunday's race after finishing less than a second off Kallio's pace.
Red Bull KTM Junior rider Michael Ranseder will make his debut on the Phillip Island circuit starting from grid position 30. Australian Blake Leigh-Smith, the 16-year-old rider replacing the injured Stefan Bradl, is feeling increasingly confident, lap for lap, on his KTM FRR 125 and starts the 23-lap race from grid slot 23.
Stefan Bradl, the 16-year-old German who sustained an injury in a crash at Sepang, underwent surgery on Tuesday in Augsburg, Germany. He was trying to simulate a start after the warm-up for the race when the French rider Masbou mowed him down from behind. Surgeons inserted two screws just above the ankle to repair the fracture in his right shinbone. Stefan has been home in Zahlung since Thursday. The cast will be removed in four weeks and he will only be able to put weight on the leg two weeks after that, doctors say. It is therefore unlikely that he will be able to compete in the remaining races of the season.
In the meantime, Bradl's place in the team has been taken over by the promising Australian rider Blake Leigh-Smith, who has been given the opportunity to gain experience with the Red Bull KTM Junior Team. The 16-year-old was almost speechless and could practically not fall asleep after he heard the news that his dream was about to come true.
His first impression is that his KTM comes out of the corners much quicker than his own bike and that it is easier to hold the line. In addition, he is profiting from the team's experience. The Australian has set himself modest goals for this weekend. He wants to steadily improve on his lap times, to qualify for the race and when all goes well, to finish in the top 20.
Mika Kallio # 36 Red Bull KTM GP 125 Pole Position 1'36.625
Like many times already this year the traffic through the session was terrible. Whenever I was going fast I ran up against a group going very slowly to wait for a rider to follow. This is not only annoying because it wipes out your fast lap; it's also very dangerous because sometimes you really have to brake very hard to avoid not crashing into them. I think that there should be some changes in the rules to avoid this situation. But anyway, my team made some improvements to the bike, especially to the suspension, which made it possible for me to improve in different sections around the track. Unfortunately I was not able to add all the good sections together to put in one really fast lap, but it makes me feel comfortable for tomorrow's race. We will keep the setting the way it is and then it should be an interesting race.
Julian Simon # 60 Red Bull KTM GP 125 10th Position 1'37.533
My practice this afternoon did not go too well. I'm not happy with 10th position. I still didn't feel too comfortable with my chassis in some corners and the times here are very fast this year. But I hope that the changes we are going to make tonight work out well and then it should be possible to have a good race result tomorrow.
Michael Ranseder # 9 Red Bull KTM Junior Team 33rd Position 1'40.360
I'm not very happy with how the practice went this afternoon. In the morning session I was almost a second faster than in the afternoon. We made some changes to the front fork and the rear suspension, but both didn't work out as planned. During the practice we changed back to this morning's settings but it was not really what I was looking for. And the traffic didn't let me improve my times at all."
Blake Leigh-Smith # 67 Red Bull KTM Junior Team 30th Position 1'39.597
I'm happy with the KTM and I feel much better on the bike than the first time I tried it yesterday. I'm a bit disappointed with the afternoon session as I was nearly one second faster in the morning, but the wind picked up in the afternoon. I was sliding a bit too much out of turn four. Towards the end, when I was pushing hard for a better start position, I came out of the last turn and everybody was sitting there, waiting on the race line. Tomorrow I'll try to have the best possible start, to stay with the group and not to lose touch."