KTM signs Mika Kallio as test rider for 2017 MotoGP bike

KTM has signed former Pramac Ducati rider Mika Kallio to test and develop the bike it will return to MotoGP with in 2017

KTM signs Mika Kallio as test rider for 2017 MotoGP bike

The Austrian manufacturer last appeared in the premier class in 2005 as an engine supplier, and last year it confirmed its intention to return.

Finnish rider Kallio raced with KTM in the 125cc and 250cc classes between 2003 and '08, before two seasons in MotoGP with the customer Ducati squad.

Kallio has since ridden in Moto2, finishing second to Esteve Rabat in the 2014 standings.

"When I first heard about their MotoGP 2017 plan, I realised that it might be a perfect chance for me to return to the Orange family," the 32-year-old said.

"I am excited about our co-operation, since I respect KTM's know-how and way of working.

"I am eager to use my vast riding experience and analytic skills to do an excellent job as their test rider.

"My heart is set on this project and even though I will miss racing next year, I believe the best times are still ahead."

With Kallio's recruitment, KTM says staffing for its test programme is complete, and a new HQ will be ready in mid-2016.

Kallio expects to test the KTM RC16 for the first time in January.

"In addition to the technical and infrastructure challenges, the topic of personnel was no less important in the first stage of the project," motorsport director Pit Beirer said.

"By hiring Mika Kallio we now have our core team for MotoGP and are able to take the next steps.

"In accordance with our planning, the motor has been running on the test benches since the beginning of July."

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