Mika Kallio

Mika Kallio
Birth Date: 
8 November, 1982

Mika Kallio Biography

A 16-time grand prix winner in the smaller classes, Mika Kallio is arguably the unsung hero of KTM's MotoGP project, the Finn having signed on as lead test rider from the start and given the RC16 its grand prix debut at Valencia 2016.

It was the first of 14 MotoGP races in orange for Kallio, but any hopes of a full-time racing comeback ended with a best of twelfth place as Johann Zarco's replacement at the tail end of the 2019 season.

Kallio, a multiple 125cc champion in his native Finland, made his 125cc grand prix debut at the 2001 German GP and finished his first full season eleventh in the championship for the Ajo Motorsport Honda team.

He then switched to the factory KTM team midway through 2003, but had just two podiums to his credit by the end of the following year. However, 2005 was a breakthrough season for the Finn, who scored his first four victories plus a further six podiums to finish second in the world championship standings.

Kallio was 125cc title runner-up once again in 2006 before making an instant impact on his debut 2007 season in the quarter-litre class, again with KTM, taking two race wins.

The 25-year-old made an excellent start to the 2008 championship, winning three of the first eight races, but steadily lost ground to Gilera's Marco Simoncelli - who took the title lead at round ten in Germany.

Kallio then lost second in the standings to Aprilia's Alvaro Bautista but comfortably remained the top KTM rider, with the next best Austrian machine that of team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama in seventh, 57 points behind Kallio.

Such performances earned Kallio a MotoGP debut in 2009, riding for the Pramac Ducati team. The Finn consistently outpaced team-mate and fellow rookie Niccolo Canepa, resulting in a brief stint at the factory team when Casey Stoner skipped three events through sickness, but was also accident prone.

Kallio took a best race result of seventh on the Marlboro bike, and eighth with Pramac, but was only 15th in the final standings and missed the US GP due to a hand injury.

Nevertheless, his raw speed was enough to secure a second season at Pramac for 2010, where he was teamed with Aleix Espargaro. The Spaniard proved a tougher challenge and, combined with injuries, it would be a dispointing season and a lack of alternatives sent Kallio back to the intermediate class, now Moto2, to ride for the Marc VDS team.

Kallio rebuilt his career with Marc VDS, progressing from one podium in 2011 to three wins, ten podiums and title runner-up in 2014. But he wouldn't finish on the grand prix podium again. A run of 31 consecutive points-scoring rides also ended when Kallio was hit by another rider at the Valencia finale, his last Marc VDS appearance.

Switching to Italtrans for 2015, Kallio began the year with top six finishes before his results took an irreversible dive. Deciding their was little hope of progress with the Kalex chassis, Kallio and Italtrans went their seperate ways after Misano. The Finn promptly switched to the QMMF team and Speed Up chassis, where he finsihed the year with a best of eighth place before focussing purely on his MotoGP testing duties for KTM.

Joined by 31-time MotoGP race winner Dani Pedrosa from 2019, Kallio's testing work has often been in the Spaniard's shadow. Although, with Pedrosa reluctant to race (until his Austria 2021 wild-card at least), the Finn has continued as KTM's official replacement rider.

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