Kallio on Provisional Pole for Red Bull KTM
Flying Finn Mika Kallio claimed provisional pole position for the Red Bull KTM team in today's first qualifying session at Estoril for Sunday's Portuguese Grand Prix.
Kallio was joined on the front row by Hungarian teammate Gabor Talmacsi, an impressive third fastest after a highly competitive session.
Also in the top ten for KTM was Spanish teenager Julian Simon who is continuing to improve now that he has recovered from pre-season injuries.
Today's fast lap was a career first provisional pole for Kallio who finished a strong second in last Sunday's opening race, the Spanish GP at Jerez.
Kallio posted his fast time on his final lap at the end of the session. His previous lap was also on target for pole until the smooth-riding Finn was baulked by traffic in last section of the 4.1 km circuit.
The Red Bull KTM machines were fitted with new exhaust systems and revised electronic engine settings.
After morning rain showers the qualifying session was sunny and dry but a cool 16 degrees. All three KTM riders are hoping for similar conditions for tomorrow's final qualifying so that they can confirm their race set-ups and tyre choice.
MIKA KALLIO #36 - First - (1.45.957) : 13 laps
"I very comfortable doing these times, the bike feels fast and I am not at my maximum. The only problem is with the front end on the bumps under hard braking at turn four. I 'm happy to have provisional pole but it is tomorrow that counts for the final times, hopefully I can get a clear run without the traffic of today."
GABOR TALMACSI #14 - Third - (1.46.670): 14 laps
"I have a good feeling but I think I can improve. The engine is very fast here with the new parts but I need to check the gearbox ratios, I would like to use a higher gear in a couple of corners. And on acceleration the front end feels a little light, but overall the the bike is comfortable, it is not difficult to do these times."
JULIAN SIMON #60 - Tenth - (1.47.567) : 14 laps
"I hope it is sunny tomorrow and I can get a clear lap without traffic. The bike was very good today, I just need to adjust the settings for the bumps, mainly in the final section. I want to stay in the top ten on the final grid."
HARALD BARTOL - Team Manager
"The new exhaust and electronic settings we have for this race worked perfectly today, there are no big complaints from the riders. We just need to fine-tune the suspension and chassis set-up for the bumps. It is nice to have Mika and Gabor in first and third, but it is only Friday, we need this result on Sunday in the race."
Source: KTM-Sportmotorcycle AG