Kallio: KTM won't be at the back in Valencia
10 November 2016 – Mika Kallio is confident that he and KTM will not be at the back of the MotoGP field when the manufacturer makes its bow in the category in Valencia this weekend.
KTM will join MotoGP full-time in 2017 after a lengthy build-up period, with current Tech 3 team-mates Pol Espargaró and Bradley Smith recruited to spearhead its attack.
However, KTM has entered test rider Kallio for the finale, setting itself the target of finishing the race as it bids to maximise the opportunity of competing against its future rivals.
It will also be Kallio's first race in MotoGP since 2010, when he raced for Pramac, having competed in Moto2 from 2011 to 2015, prior to taking up a test role with KTM this year.
"The start in Valencia will be a remarkable moment," explained Kallio.
"KTM is presenting this new bike, and it is a great honour to be the one to compete with it for the very first time. This whole year has been great, and I couldn't imagine a better way to end the season.
"The team will have valuable experience working under pressure, and I can finally enjoy riding MotoGP again.
"I'm not going to be at the back of the pack in this race.
"I'll be focusing on some of my personal goals after the timed free practice [sessions]. I can race without pressure, and I believe I'll be on fire when the lights go out."
Espargaró and Smith will test KTM's bike for the first time in next week's group gathering in Valencia.