KTM surprised by pace deficit on MotoGP debut at Valencia

Mika Kallio admits finishing KTM's first day of MotoGP practice at Valencia more than three seconds off the pace was a "big surprise"

KTM surprised by pace deficit on MotoGP debut at Valencia

The Austrian manufacturer is racing with Kallio as a wildcard in the season finale, before entering MotoGP full-time in 2017 with Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro.

A programme of 12 tests over the last year concluded at Valencia last month, and Kallio had predicted that he would not be at the back of the field.

However the Finn, racing for the first time this year, was 22nd and last in both of Friday's sessions, 2.940 seconds slower than the pace set by Jorge Lorenzo in practice one and 3.111s down in practice two.

In the second session, Kallio was 0.928s off the next-slowest rider, Marc VDS Honda's Tito Rabat.

"At the moment the reality is the results, but I would say that we didn't show our best today," Kallio said.

"The gap to the front was too big, three seconds. That was a big surprise for us.

"We thought we'd get a bit closer to the fastest guys and that's why of course we are not happy with these results.

"There is a lot of things that we need to improve but anyway that was just the first day.

"After two days we will think about what we can do to improve things."

Kallio said that KTM was slower than it had been during its October test at Valencia, and that the RC16 "lost a little bit everywhere" compared to its new on-track rivals.

The biggest issue, though, was rear grip, Kallio reporting losing contact with the track surface on corner entry and wheelspinning on exit.

"For some reason there was no grip with the rear tyres," he said.

"Even if we changed different settings, and the soft and the hard [compound] on the rear, I always faced the same problems.

"So that's why I'm not completely satisfied with today but we need to take the positives.

"There's still time to improve and let's see where we end up on Sunday."

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