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Kallio doubts he will race again this year

Kallio doubts he will race again this year
By AutoSport

27/09/2017 at 10:25Updated 27/09/2017 at 10:27

KTM test rider Mika Kallio says he expects his third MotoGP race appearance of the year at Aragon to be his final one of 2017, despite his strong performance.

Off the back of a strong ride to 10th in Austria in August, Kallio was offered an extra wildcard outing aboard the RC16 for last weekend's Aragon Grand Prix.

He impressed by qualifying directly to Q2 with the fifth-fastest time in third practice on Saturday morning, although he only managed to line up 12th on the grid after crashing.

Kallio ran as high as eighth in the early laps of the race before eventually coming home 11th, one place behind lead KTM regular Pol Espargaro but well ahead of Bradley Smith, who was 19th.

But, despite once again outperforming the under-pressure Smith, Kallio does not expect to race again in 2017.

"This we need to ask the big bosses, what they are thinking, if they are thinking of giving me some more wildcards," said Kallio when asked if he would do any more races this year.

"At the moment we have not discussed anything. Basically I had these two races, Germany and Austria, and after these two races we thought 'OK maybe we can come also here'. Now we did it.

"I believe this is the last one for this season, hopefully next season we can do something more."

Kallio, who was shortlisted for an Avintia Ducati seat but lost out to Moto2 rider Xavier Simeon, reiterated that his goal remains to secure a return to full-time MotoGP action.

His last full-time ride was in 2010, with the Pramac Ducati team, before he returned to Moto2 - where he was runner up to Tito Rabat in '14 - and then joined the KTM project at the end of '15.

"Last year and this year I've been saying a lot of times that for sure I would like to go back to being a race rider, that's my goal," Kallio said. "Absolutely I would like to go back."

Despite failing to match his Red Bull Ring result, the 34-year-old was still content with his Aragon performance, saying rear tyre drop-off was to account for him dropping behind Espargaro.

"I'm really satisfied with the result, especially the first half of the race was really good lap-time-wise," said Kallo.

If you compare them to the front guys, we were almost the same.

"The gap to the front was really small for the first 10 or 11 laps.

"We are still struggling a little bit to keep the tyre life, it seems especially I'm struggling more than Pol for the last laps, that's why he was able to overtake me."