KTM to cut down on wildcards next year

KTM MotoGP boss Pit Beirer says that the Austrian manufacturer will cut back on the number of wildcard appearances for its test riders in the future.

KTM to cut down on wildcards next year

Test rider Mika Kallio entered four races in KTM's first full season in MotoGP last year, and was set to race five times this year before injuring his right knee in a crash at the Sachsenring, curtailing his duties for the remainder of 2018.

The Finn had been using a 2019 prototype KTM that race riders Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith have not been able to race yet, taking 10th at Jerez but crashing on the opening lap in Barcelona.

Beirer admitted that the team gave Kallio "more wildcards than we wanted", which has had a negative effect as the test team's focus shifted too much towards racing.

And with Tech 3 adding two more KTMs to the premier class field next year, Beirer has indicated that there will be significantly fewer wildcard appearances for the Austrian marque's test riders next year.

"We planned more wildcards than we wanted, because we wanted to give Mika a chance to race more, because he was so desperate to race," he said.

"But this was also not very positive for the project because the test team starts to think too much like the race team and they want to race.

"They just want to get ready for the next weekend, and the most stupid parts, which also need to be tested, they don't do them because they focus on the race. Then you start to drift away from the job of the test team.

"We will not see - maybe even one or no wildcards from our test team in the future, that's already clear. Because [with] four riders in the race, [there's] enough race information, so the test team should focus on testing."

Kallio was free to leave for full-time ride

Kallio raced in MotoGP with Pramac Ducati in 2009 and 2010 before returning to Moto2 and then eventually taking up the KTM test rider role, and Beirer revealed that he urged the Finn to explore a race return.

This didn't materialise, and Kallio is now set to remain as one of KTM's two test riders next year.

Beirer said: "With Mika, we had a really honest talk and we told him, 'If there's a chance you could ride for a race team, maybe you should really do it', because he has that fire, it's unbelievable.

"So I gave him the chance: 'You go now six weeks and you speak to different teams, [and] if you think you can race, you should go. But if you don't get a place to race somewhere, then please accept that you are a test rider'. 

"He's still a contracted replacement rider, if something goes wrong, he would immediately jump on the bike and race, but he will not race in the future with the test team.

"We had a really good talk and it clicked also with him that it's still fantastic to be part of MotoGP as a test rider, come to the races, help our riders, watch on the race track what's going on.

"This talk has been done, so he would be a happy test rider, but now he's an unhappy test rider because he's injured."

Former MotoGP racer Randy de Puniet has been drafted in as a replacement tester for the rest of the 2018 season.

Additional reporting by Maria Reyer

shares
comments
The comeback that sealed a motorsport legend
Previous article

The comeback that sealed a motorsport legend

Next article

Crutchlow's Honda factory contract extended

Crutchlow's Honda factory contract extended
Load comments
How Quartararo cast aside prior doubts to become MotoGP's new king Prime

How Quartararo cast aside prior doubts to become MotoGP's new king

Doubts were cast over Yamaha’s French recruit after his disastrous end to the 2020 MotoGP season with Petronas SRT, but Fabio Quartararo answered them convincingly in 2021 to claim a MotoGP title that exhibited both his devastating speed and mental strength

MotoGP
Dec 7, 2021
The Rossi-less future MotoGP must now navigate Prime

The Rossi-less future MotoGP must now navigate

Motorcycle racing's greatest showman has left the stage, as Valentino Rossi calls time on his remarkable career on two wheels. But in his successors, all of whom were inspired by 'the Doctor', grand prix racing has vibrant new acts to keep us hooked

MotoGP
Dec 4, 2021
Valentino Rossi’s 10 greatest MotoGP races Prime

Valentino Rossi’s 10 greatest MotoGP races

As the Italian legend finally bows out and retires from MotoGP, it marks the end of one of the most incredible careers in motorsport history. Here is Motorsport.com's pick of his best rides and the stories behind them

MotoGP
Dec 3, 2021
How Ducati has drawn first blood in the 2022 MotoGP title race Prime

How Ducati has drawn first blood in the 2022 MotoGP title race

The 2021 MotoGP season may have only just ended but preparations for 2022 are well underway following a two-day test at Jerez this week. Ducati has hit the ground running while a lack of progress dominated Yamaha’s and world champion Fabio Quartararo’s test. While no battle lines have been drawn yet for 2022, it appears Ducati has already drawn first blood...

MotoGP
Nov 20, 2021
Why Suzuki's quest for a new MotoGP boss may be too late Prime

Why Suzuki's quest for a new MotoGP boss may be too late

Suzuki is on the search for a new team manager after its decision not to replace Davide Brivio at the start of 2021 was backed up by its unsuccessful bid to help Joan Mir defend his 2020 MotoGP world title. But whoever Shinichi Sahara appoints next, it may have already come too late to convince Mir to stick with the project

MotoGP
Nov 19, 2021
How Rossi got the perfect send-off to his MotoGP career Prime

How Rossi got the perfect send-off to his MotoGP career

The greatest chapter in MotoGP history came to a close at the Valencia Grand Prix as Valentino Rossi bid farewell after 26 seasons of grand prix racing. While his run to a strong 10th was a pleasing end to his time in MotoGP, it was what happened at the front of the grid that capped the Italian's ideal send-off

MotoGP
Nov 15, 2021
Why MotoGP's under-fire graduate has a point to prove Prime

Why MotoGP's under-fire graduate has a point to prove

OPINION: MotoGP-bound Darryn Binder was already under the microscope as his jump from Moto3 to join RNF's new top-class team was announced. But his crash with title hopeful Dennis Foggia caused significant consternation among the ranks - with many current riders suggesting the top level should be harder to break into as a result

MotoGP
Nov 9, 2021
How Portugal exposed the biggest threat to Quartararo Prime

How Portugal exposed the biggest threat to Quartararo

Fabio Quartararo’s first DNF of his title-winning 2021 MotoGP season couldn’t have come at a better time. But the events of the Yamaha rider’s Algarve Grand Prix exposed the M1’s well-known major weakness, which could threaten his championship defence given the increasingly Ducati-heavy makeup of the grid heading into 2022

MotoGP
Nov 8, 2021