It is finally happening. After a long wait, Team KTM will make it’s debut at Valencia GP with their test rider Mika Kallio. The debut starts on Friday during the MotoGP first free practice at 9.55 a.m.; qualifying is at 14.10 p.m. on Saturday. The race starts on Sunday at 2.00 p.m. On Monday it is all about preparing the pit area and motorcycles for the arrival of the two 2017 factory riders Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith. They will ride the KTM MotoGP bike for the first time in the official IRTA test on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Mike Leitner (Team Manager): “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.”
Sebastian Risse (Technical Director): “We’ve had a lot of experience and made a lot of developments this year. The set-up day yesterday showed us that everyone in the team has done their homework, and despite the constant time pressure and a lot of new parts, we apparently didn’t leave anything at home. Today, from the technical point of view, we hope to have a more relaxed one and to complete detailed work in preparation for the race weekend. We hope to experience many things that weren’t possible during testing.”
Mika Kallio (Test Rider): “The start in Valencia will be a remarkable moment. KTM is presenting this new bike, and it is a great honor 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.“
Paul Trevathan (Crew Chief): “The atmosphere in the team is positive after all the hard work throughout this year and it remains so ahead of this great occasion. Yesterday we saw that everyone was fired up with the same passion coming into the paddock as they were at the Spielberg weekend. It’s clear that one or other of us will have a bit more tension than we did in the tests, but we try to stay normal and continue to concentrate on our work. This race is the reward for all the team, and especially for Mika, for all the tireless work and we’re very excited about where we will be.”