MotoGP: KTM To Make Its Race Debut At Valencia?

Test rider Mika Kallio talks Red Bull Ring Test and KTM's race debut at the end of the season...

Mika Kallio 2016

FMF Bonanza Plumbing Team of Kurt Caselli, Mike Brown, Ivan Ramirez (pictured) and Marc Coma finished third

Mika Kallio was happy to put his KTM to the test alongside the MotoGP regulars at the Red Bull Ring private test.Photo Courtesy of KTM

Although the official announcement has yet to be made, KTM test rider Mika Kallio let the cat out of the bag in his video interview on MotoGP.com after Day One of the official MotoGP Red Bull Ring private test – KTM will race at the 2016 MotoGP season finale in Valencia, Spain.

“Around two seconds behind the fastest guys, I think at the moment it’s quite good for us,” Kallio said about the first day of testing. “We still have time to work before we come to the Valencia race, we cross our fingers and hopefully tomorrow we improve even more.”

To be fair to Kallio, it's not like it was any big secret. The rumors had already been circulating. And KTM wouldn’t be the first to wildcard at the season finale at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit. Suzuki opted to do the same thing at the Valencia Grand Prix in 2014 before its long-awaited-full-time return to the World Championship in 2015. And for sure, at what amounted to a little more than two seconds – 2.292 to be precise – behind the leading Ducati of Andrea Dovizioso, KTM definitely has more work to do.

But, to be fair again, those 2.292 seconds are actually not a bad effort for KTM’s RC16’s first outing alongside the competition.

“I think everyone can be really satisfied that we’re here with the other teams, other riders,” Kallio said. “It has been a long season for me always riding alone on the track and testing many things and now we are here with the other guys; I enjoy a lot. In the end I think the lap times were on a good level, quite good. 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 so that’s good for us there was no technical problems, all the time everything was working.”