Mika Kallio's first MotoGP weekend of the season peaked with third place in the wet FP3 session at Aragon.

The factory test rider, drafted in by KTM to replace Johann Zarco for the rest of the season, also managed a best of twelfth in the dry before making strides from 19th on the grid to 14th in the opening laps of the race.

But Kallio's lack of experience with the latest race tyres meant he was the only rider to select hard rubber for both the front and rear. The Finn later admitted it was 'maybe a mistake' and he slipped back to 17th by the chequered flag.

"My last MotoGP race was a long time ago so it was difficult to find the rhythm and get on the same level as the others," said Kallio, the lone factory KTM rider on the grid after team-mate Pol Espargaro's wrist fracture on Saturday.

"We needed the laps today and I think we did quite OK. Everything can always be better but for the first weekend it was alright and we made kept the mistakes to a minimum.

"The only disappointing thing was missing out of the points and I think maybe I made a mistake with the tyre choice. I was missing experience with how the soft or the hard would behave."

Nonetheless, Kallio's instant speed in wet conditions means the Finn is already looking forward to such conditions in the remaining rounds.

"We made good times in tricky conditions and I always like those and I had a good feeling with the bike. Who knows? Maybe we can have a race like that in the rest of the season," said Kallio, looking to secure the 2020 race seat.

"We’ll set some target now for the rest of the weekends this year. We’ll see how it goes in Thailand.”

Red Bull KTM Team Manager Mike Leitner added: “The first race for Mika and until the second phase it was going pretty well as he could stay with the group near the top ten.

"Of course he is missing experience with the correct race tyre and strategy but we’re happy with what he did. The rear tyre choice stopped him getting into the points.

"We missed Pol and he was performing well this weekend up until the crash but he had successful surgery and we wish him all the best.

"We have the [private] test here on Tuesday and Wednesday now and then we’ll look to Thailand.”

Tech3 rookie Miguel Oliveira finished as the top KTM, in 13th.

 

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