MOTOGP » 18 September 2013
Moto2: Mika Kallio enters Italian Superbike round
Mika Kallio will make his CIV Superbike debut this weekend at Mugello, where he'll race the Team Thevent BMW HP4 in the final two races of the Italian Championship.
The Finn, who earlier this season took his first win in the Moto2 World Championship at Brno, will stand in for the team's regular rider, Sébastien Gimbert, who is on Endurance World Championship duty at the 24 Hours of Le Mans this weekend.
Kallio, who has racked up 13 wins and 38 podiums during a Grand Prix career spanning 12 seasons, tested the bike in France earlier this month, declaring himself impressed by the performance of the Michelin shod BMW after circulating the Nogaro circuit at lap record pace.
Team Thevent technical staff and Michelin technicians were also impressed with the detailed feedback Kallio was able to provide after just one day aboard the BMW at Nogaro, a track at which he has never ridden previously.
Round nine of the CIV Superbike Championship will be contested on Saturday 21 September, with the final round taking place the following day. Despite limited experience on a Superbike, Kallio heads to Italy with his sights set firmly on a top five finish in both races.
"This weekend at Mugello will certainly be a bit different to the last time I was there, but I'm looking forward to the challenge of racing the BMW HP4 in the CIV Championship,” said the Finn.
"I adapted quickly to the bike when I tested at Nogaro earlier this month, but what impressed me most were the Michelin tyres, which are at a completely different level to anything I've experienced before. I still need time to get the best from the bike and tyres during practice and qualifying, but I know the track and I think top five in both races is a realistic goal.
"I also have the advantage of having nothing to lose, as this is a one-off ride, so if the opportunity presents itself then a podium may even be possible on Sunday."
Team Principal Michael Bartholemy added: "We made the decision to run Sébastien Gimbert in the 24 Hours of Le Mans this weekend because of his endurance experience, but also because his crash at Vallelunga effectively ruled him out of the running for the CIV title.
"In Mika we have an equally experienced rider, who impressed during his one-day test aboard our BMW HP4 earlier this month. He adapted to the bike and the tyres immediately, running lap record pace after just a few hours at Nogaro, and he knows the Mugello circuit well, having raced and tested there may times over the past few years.
"We have set no targets for Mika this weekend, but he seems confident that he can run in the top five and, on his performance during the team, I have no reason to doubt him."
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