UPDATE (Monday): Speedweek.com is reporting that Mika Kallio could now be in contention for Bradley Smith's KTM race seat in 2018.

KTM CEO Stefan Pierer: "We appreciate Bradley very much. He was the first MotoGP rider to believe in our project. We have not forgotten that. But we wish for an increase from him. We will decide the rider line-up for 2018 up to the overseas races in October."

Mika Kallio does not view his current role as KTM MotoGP test rider as a step towards retirement.

Related Articles

On the contrary, the Finn intends to use it as a springboard back into a full-time premier-class ride.

Kallio upheld KTM honours with an excellent tenth place as a wild-card in their home Austrian Grand Prix.

That is just one position from the RC16's best-yet result, by regular rider Pol Espargaro in the wet-dry Brno race. But the 19.766s margin between Kallio and victory was the smallest yet, despite Kallio not testing at the Red Bull Ring since last July and it being only his third GP since 2015.

"I haven't raced so much recently, so if I'm racing more often I could be even closer," he said. "However, today was one of the best races I've done in MotoGP and the closest I've ever been to the winner in MotoGP."

Asked about his future plans, the 34-year-old replied: "Already, almost two years ago when I came to KTM for this project, I said testing is something that I like to do, but also this is the way that maybe I can come back to MotoGP.

"Definitely that was on my plan; that one day I would like to be a race rider in MotoGP again. That is still my goal and of course this result will help a lot. But I don't know if it's enough or not. Let's see what happens."

Kallio was a MotoGP rider in 2009 and 2010 on satellite Ducati machinery, before spending five seasons in Moto2. He won four races in the 600cc class and was 2014 title runner-up behind Marc VDS team-mate Tito Rabat.

VDS is one of the few teams known to need a new MotoGP rider for 2018, following Jack Miller's switch to Pramac.

"I've spoken with a few teams, but as we know there is not so many places available any more," Kallio said of 2018. "VDS have one place. I've spoken to them, but at the moment I've not had a clear answer about what they will do. For sure there are many other riders also knocking on their door.

"So I need to wait and definitely see what KTM would like to do. What is their plan for me for the future. My first priority is still to stay here, if I can find a place to ride. I'd really like to stay with KTM. I like these people and have a long history with them. So absolutely it would be nice to stay."

Would you consider racing in Moto2 for KTM?

"No. We never ever talk about Moto2 with KTM. I think they have a lot of good riders and a plan for them. At the moment for me it would be just the MotoGP class."

Espargaro was forced out of the Austrian race by an early technical problem, while team-mate Bradley Smith was 'surprised and shocked' by a lack of pace, finishing 18th after a strong warm-up.


Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment

Perfect candidate for the Moto1 class.

give him Bwadleys bike , has to do better than him.

Why not, he is experienced, willing, and fast. With Smith's current performance Kallio should be put on one year deal on Smith's bike with the option of 2nd year, until Olivera or Binder takes over. Smith has been making no impression all season long.

To Moto2 he can't go, because he crossed Aki Ajo way back in the 125cc to join factory KTM effort... Ironically Ajo is running now the KTM efforts in Moto3 and Moto2.

Hats off to you Kalio!!!!  

You shaked things at the factory today!!

It's slightly embarassing that he outperformed Bradley massively. 

Brad's not had a win since 2010 way back in 125's and I'm not even dead certain he'd be at the sharp end in Moto2 any more. 

He's intelligent but just doesn't seem to have that 'edge' which you need to compete in motoGP.

PLEASE KICK SMITH OFF AND PUT KALLIO ON !!! It's so much better to see another manufacture up there. And Kallio is absolutey right, if he had more race time, who knows where that KTM would be. I really didnt think the bike was that bad, I just think the riders on it are feavishely sub par. Plus, who doesn't like to see a mumbling Finn during interviews??

Bradley should start engaging & build/strengthen some relationship with other manufacturers now.

Today Kalio outperformed a lot of "stablished" riders with a KTM.  Iannone has been very critical about Suzuki, but KTM is far from Suzuki. Kalio proved to be better than Iannone today!

What a race Kalio!!! 

Certainly makes a strong case for at least one of ktms current riders to be shown the door...preferably immediately.  I've always been confused at their signing of the ex-satellite Yamaha riders.  If they couldn't perform on one of the best bikes on the grid, what did ktm expect them to do on a development bike?  

He's a better rider, more suited to the bike than Bradley, After today's result, there is no reason not to give Bradley his Pink slip and send him on his way.  If they (KTM) are serious about winning a championship in 5, then they need to get a move on it!  Bradley is at best a #2 rider, and KTM needs someone who has been with the program since its birth.  Why didn't they do this from the get go is beyond me?    Bradly should make his way back to Tech 3.  he had some success there and would probably continue to do so!  

KTM could throw a truckload of money at Casey Stoner, and bring on Kalio as well.  Now that would be an Awesome one, two punch, with Mucho experience behind the riders to boot!