Finland’s Mika Kallio returns to KTM next season as test rider for the MotoGP™ project.
KTM made the decision about one year ago to enter competition in the premier class of MotoGP™ as of the 2017 season. The company was then faced with the task of making all the preparations for a successful entry into this class of motorsport in a relatively short time. By securing the services of Mika Kallio, staffing for the test team is now completed. A new Motorsport Center, currently under construction will also be ready in mid-2016.
Pit Beirer (Motorsport Director): “In addition to the technical and infrastructure challenges, the topic of personnel was no less important in the first stage of the project. By hiring Mika Kallio we now have our core team for MotoGP and are able to take the next steps. In accordance with our planning, the motor has been running on the test benches since the beginning of July. The next step will be the first roll out with Alex Hofmann, former Grand Prix rider and now commentator for MotoGP on Eurosport.”
Mike Leitner (MotoGP™ Consultant): “We opted for Mika Kallio because of his successful past association with KTM and not least because of his experience and success in all classes. It is not only with us that he has proved his ability as an excellent racer and test rider. He wants, and above all can push himself to the limit and this can be decisive in the development of the KTM RC16.”
Mika Kallio: “KTM has played an important role in my career. When I first heard about their MotoGP 2017 plan, I realised that it might be a perfect chance for me to return to the Orange family. I am excited about our co-operation, since I respect KTM’s know-how and way of working. I am eager to use my vast riding experience and analytic skills to do an excellent job as their test rider. My heart is set on this project and even though I will miss racing next year, I believe the best times are still ahead.“
Mika Kallio joined KTM in the MotoGP™ World Championship in 2003 and went on to win two vice world championship titles in the 125cc class in 2005 and 2006 before he moved up to the 250cc class in 2007, also with KTM. After taking third in the world championship in 2008, he advanced to MotoGP™ in 2009, where he was named “Rookie of the Year” in his first season of competition. Following a protracted shoulder injury he returned to the new four-stroke Moto2™ class, where he has been successfully competing since 2011 to become a vice world champion again in 2014.