KTM Debuting as Wildcard in MotoGP’s Valencia Final Race

It was known before that Austrian bike-maker KTM will debut this year in the Valencia MotoGP round, same as Suzuki did in 2015 when it returned. Mika Kallio will be deployed for the task as he recently confirmed the manufacturer’s firm intention to take part in the last race of this season.
Mika Kallio on a MotoGP KTM 1 photo
Photo: Philip Platzer KTM Media Library
Thirtythree year-old Finnish rider Mika Kallio said he would race the new KTM MotoGP prototype as a wildcard in the final race of the season that takes place in Valencia. This comes after testing alongside fellow Thomas Luthi and current riders in Austria this week, where he impressed with his 16th quickest time.

Kallio finished this week’s tests only 2.2 seconds apart from pacesetter Andrea Dovizioso and with more than three months until the final race, there’s still time to improve that. And this looks just like Suzuki did in 2014 ahead of its comeback the following year when it let Randy de Puniet ride at the Valencia final round.

“I think everyone can be really satisfied that we're here with the others. In the end I think the lap times were on a good level," Kallio told “We tried to follow the others and see how the bike is behaving and where we are losing compared to them. We did a lot of laps, there were no technical problems.

“We were around two seconds behind the fastest guys, at the moment it's quite good. We still have time to work before we come to the Valencia race, hopefully tomorrow we can improve even more,” he added.

Earlier on, KTM confirmed that Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro would join full-time tester Kallio as a team for 2017. Former 125, 250, MotoGP and Moto2 racer, Mika Kallio stepped away from competition this year and became KTM’s official test rider.

The final race of the 2016 MotoGP season takes place at Valencia, Spain, between 11 - 13 November. The circuit record is currently held by Jorge Lorenzo, taking him 1'31.367 to complete a tour of the circuit last year.
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram

Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories