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MotoGP Valencia: Baptism of fire as Kallio and KTM make long-awaited debut

Mika Kallio says there is more to come as the weekend progresses following the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team’s MotoGP debut at Valencia today.

As the team had its first premier class outing today ahead of a full season in 2017 with riders Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith at the helm, test rider Kallio admitted he wasn’t happy with his pace, after finishing the day three seconds adrift of fastest rider Jorge Lorenzo.

“It’s good to be here because it’s today everyone in the team has been working towards for so long, we have had a lot of riding alone on the track at a lot of different race tracks and many many kilometres and its literally a historical day for everyone, the team and me also to be here.”


But the Finnish rider says while he isn’t happy with his opening day, he believes things will improve over the course of the weekend.

“I would say we were not showing our best today. The gap at the front was absolutely too big,” he said. “Three seconds, that was a big surprise for us, we thought we could be closer to the fastest guys and that’s why of course we are not happy.

“There are a lot of things that we need to improve but anyway that was just the first day and we have still two days to think about what we can do, how we can improve the things.”

Kallio revealed one of his biggest issues was getting to grips with the rear tyre, and believes this is the crux of all problems at this juncture.

“The main problem was that for some reason we couldn’t work with the rear tyre. There was no grip at all, even if we changed the settings. I tried both bikes and also I try two options, the soft and the harder one on the rear but I always felt same problem so that’s why I’m not completely satisfied for today.

“But we need to take the positive, like I say there’s still two days’ time to improve and let’s see where we end up on Sunday.”

And he added that he was slightly miffed that he had performed better at a test at the Spanish track last month.

“We were here around a month ago and we were faster during the testing so that’s why we are expecting something more for tomorrow,” he said. “If we can find solution for the rear we can exit better out of the last corner and the top speed is also absolutely better then.

“We need to improve, to be faster and before when we came here I say I think we are not the best to make one good lap in qualifying but I think the race pace we have, it could be quite ok and we can be more competitive.”

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