Hard-fought seventh place for Red Bull KTM rider Mika Kallio at Le Mans

21.05.2007: Hard-fought seventh place for Red Bull KTM rider Mika Kallio at Le Mans

Red Bull KTM rider Mika Kallio showed both strength and determination at the French Grand Prix on Sunday in the 250 cc race, when he battled his way to a difficult eventual seventh place.

The Finnish rider had to deal with handling problems when the bike was fully loaded with fuel and with a near accident with another rider that forced him into the gravel. In a day when luck seemed to escape the team, Kallio’s team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama also had his share of disappointments. Aoyama started well and for a while was able to ride alongside Kallio. Then a top 10 finish eluded him when the crankshaft of his motorcycle broke.

"I had a really good start again and was in fifth position after the first corner," Kallio reported after the race. He then ran into a problem that had previously given him difficulty. "The bike didn’t handle very well with a full petrol tank, and I had to brake earlier than usual," he said.

Kallio slipped back some places but was still confident of a good finish when he and Anthony West touched going into the first fast right hand corner of the circuit. Kallio ended up in the gravel and lost another four positions. "My brake lever was bent down which made it more difficult to ride. But I still tried to push and even got back up to speed after that, because as the fuel level went down and the bike got lighter it felt the way I like it." In the closing stages it seemed possible for Kallio to finish in sixth slot but Simoncelli went on the attack and he was unable to catch him.

Aoyama too was making steady progress up through the ranks. He was eleventh after one lap and by lap five had moved up to ninth. "I would have made further progress for sure but then the engine started to feel strange, it felt tight under acceleration and started to lose power. And just before mid-race, my bike simply stopped," the Japanese rider concluded.

Results 125 cc Race

1. Sergio Gadea, Spain, Aprilia, 41’50.112

2. Lukas Pesek, Czech Republic, Derbi, 41’50.590

3. Bradley Smith, Britain, Honda, 41:53.075

4. Gabor Talmacsi, Hungary, Aprilia, 42’03.628

5. Joan Olive, Spain, Aprilia, 42’03.957

10. Tomoyoshi Koyama, Japan, KTM, 42’09.220

13. Randy Krummenacher, Switzerland, 42’19.629

Steve Bonsey, USA, KTM DNF

Promising start for Koyama in Le Mans fails to reward

Red Bull KTM factory rider Tomoyoshi Koyama started the 125cc French Grand Prix with great flair from the front row of the grid and steamed into second and third place in the opening four laps of the race on the circuit at Le Mans.

But all hopes of the Japanese ace to add another podium finish to his career faded when he ran into chattering problems with his machine. Koyama was unable to defend his position and dropped down the order into a tight pack of riders and eventually crossed the line in a disappointing 10th place.

"At the beginning of the race, things looked really good. I was with the leading pack, and even though Pasini established an incredible pace right from the beginning, I really believed in my chance of a podium finish," the Japanese rider said. Regrettably he then began to experience the chattering problems going into the corners and in mid corner.

Knowing that he could not push as hard as he would have liked, Koyama then just had to settle down to make the best of the situation. The ever positive Japanese competitor still found it in himself to look forward positively, saying: "We’ve had this problem before and were able to solve it, so I’m sure we can fix it again for the next race!"

Any measure of luck also escaped Koyama’s team-mate Randy Krummenacher of Switzerland. "I had a good start and I was immediately within the point rankings but then Zanetti hit me from behind and I lost three or four places," Krummenacher said.

The painful blow he sustained on the back of his thigh was enough for him to lose his rhythm for the following few laps. "Then I got it back together and ended up in a nice battle with Michi Ranseder. I caught him four laps from the end and managed to stay ahead of him!"

Considering his misfortune with the other rider, Krummenacher crossed the line in a creditable thirteenth place.

Despite a satisfactory start, the team’s American dirt track hero Steve Bonsey was again out of luck and crashed after three laps. He had to take some quick defensive action after another rider crashed in the first corner and found himself at the back of the field. "I then tried to recover as quickly as possible, but my rear tyre would spin at the corner exits, and I also had some chattering. After a few laps, I opened the throttle at the exit of the last corner too early, had a highsider and crashed. Another bummer!"

 

KTM Fans’ Grandstand brings a taste of Orange to French Grand Prix

Despite an abrupt change in the weather, KTM and some 150 loyal fans succeeded in bringing a true taste of orange to the Le-Mans racing circuit at the French Grand Prix, celebrating the inaugural KTM Fans’ Grandstand.

Organized in close co-operation with KTM France, the first ever KTM fans’ Grandstand, situated at the famous Garage Verte hairpin bend of the circuit, was the forerunner of more to come this season and in the future. Equipped with the signature orange t-shirts and KTM flags from the KTM fan packages, the band of dedicated followers made sure nothing was going to stand between them and their enthusiastic support for the Red Bull KTM factory team.

The orange fans were supplied with a complementary breakfast from the KTM maintenance truck and were able to get up front and personal with their favourite machines at the KTM display area.

The fans’ grandstand concept is designed to welcome dedicated members of the KTM extended family and to give them a sense of belonging to the ever expanding "orange community". There will also be a KTM grandstand at the German and Czech Grands Prix and others are in the planning stage.

 

- KTM Mattighofen -

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21.05.2007 / MaP

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