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.

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.


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