After a year of tests, the time has come for KTM to take on its first MotoGP race. As announced some time ago, test rider Mika Kallio will pilot the RC16 in its maiden Grand Prix at Valencia.
The bike, after much testing - more or less alone - on various circuits, must now face its adversaries on race weekend.
“The start in Valencia will be a remarkable moment - says Kallio - KTM is presenting this new bike, and it is a great honour to be the one to compete with it for the very first time. This whole year has been great, and I couldn't imagine a better way to end the season. This coming weekend will be memorable for me, and for all the KTM staff. The team will have valuable experience working under pressure, and I can finally enjoy riding MotoGP again. I’m not going to be at the back of the pack in this race. I’ll be focusing on some of my personal goals after the timed free practices. I can race without pressure, and I believe I'll be on fire when the lights go out.”
Team Manager Mike Leitner comments: “We are all very happy with what we did as a team in the year since the first laps in Spielberg, but we see the wildcard entry as another test in our preparation for Qatar 2017. It will be our first experience under Grand Prix conditions. The most important thing is that we can finish the race. But it would also be great if we can achieve the performance that we’ve shown recently. Naturally, we can feel the enormous expectations from outside, but we don’t let this deter us. Instead, we try to remain realistic, and to see this race weekend experience as the next step.”
Technical Director Sebastian Risse adds: “We’ve had a lot of experience and made a lot of developments this year. Everyone on the team has done their homework. We hope to experience many things that weren’t possible during testing.”