Mika Kallio returns to MotoGP as KTM test rider

Finnish rider Mika Kallio will make his MotoGP return as a KTM test rider as the Austrian manufacturer prepares itself for the 2017 season.

Mika Kallio returns to MotoGP as KTM test rider
Mika Kallio, Pramac Racing Team
Mika Kallio, Pramac Racing
Mika Kallio, Pramac Racing Team
Alvaro Bautista, Rizla Suzuki MotoGP and Mika Kallio, Pramac Racing Team
Mika Kallio, Pramac Racing Team and Aleix Espargaro, Pramac Racing Team
Mika Kallio, Pramac Racing Team
Mika Kallio, Pramac Racing Team

KTM confirmed its intention to compete in the premier class in 2017 season a year ago, and have recruited 32-year-old former Pramac Ducati rider Kallio in a testing role.

Upon signing the Finn, KTM's Motorsport Director Pit Beirer said: "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.

"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."

The staffing of the KTM test team was completed by Kallio's hiring, while a new Motorsport Center will be up and running by mid-2016.

Kallio, who current rides for the QMMF team in Moto2, was equally thrilled to be named as a test rider in the project, saying: "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."

After winning 12 Grands Prix on KTM machinery in the 125cc and 250cc classes, Kallio made his MotoGP debut for Pramac in 2009, but was forced to drop down to Moto2 in 2011 after two lacklustre seasons.

He has remained in the intermediate class since, taking a further four wins and finishing as runner-up to Marc VDS teammate Esteve Rabat last season.

Kallio currently lies 15th in the Moto2 standings with a best result of fourth, having switched from the Italtrans squad to QMMF ahead of Aragon.

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