News 25 Sep 2019

Kallio ‘missing experience’ with current-spec tyre in Aragon return

P17 for test rider turned Zarco replacement at the Spanish grand prix.

Image: Supplied.

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing test rider and now Johann Zarco fill-in Mika Kallio admits he lacked experience with the current offering of race tyres at the Aragon grand prix, marking his first MotoGP racing appearance in over a year.

Kallio showed strong pace at the beginning of the 23-lap encounter, however suggested he made a mistake in tyre selection due to minimal time spent on the latest specification rubber, leading him to drop near the end of the outing.

Crossing the line P17, the result marked a valuable hitout for the Finnish ace, who’s replacing Zarco for the remainder of the season after he was benched by the Austrian manufacturer.

“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,” Kallio explained. “We needed the laps today and I think we did quite okay. Everything can always be better but for the first weekend it was alright and we 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. 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. We’ll set some target now for the rest of the weekends this year. We’ll see how it goes in Thailand.”

Kallio was the only factory KTM rider out on-track on Sunday after Spaniard Pol Espargaro suffered a fractured wrist in FP4.

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