Kallio's KTM "based on next year's model"

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing test rider takes on Jerez as he returns to competition - and they're looking ahead to 2019 already

In the Gran Premio Red Bull de España, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing's Mika Kallio returns to the grid for the first time since the Valencia GP last November. The Finn has a few thoughts ahead of his return to competition, and says he's ready to race.

"For sure it is great to race again, but at the same time I realize, that there has been a long break since the last GP," begins the Finn. "The preparation hasn´t been ideal compared to the other riders who have their racing rhythm on. It was similar situation last year and still I managed to make good results. This is not the optimal case, but I have all the possibilities to be the fastest KTM rider and if everything goes perfectly, then there is a chance to be among the top ten, or at least close."

That said, however, the start of 2018 has been a little tougher than expected for the Austrian factory - but they're already looking forward to 2019...

"The beginning of the season has been more difficult than expected with the new bike. During the winter we were not able to improve the new model as much as desired and even though steps were taken, other teams went forward as well with amazing pace." It's already all hands on deck to change that: "My bike will differ somewhat from what Espargaro and Smith have. This is a new version that is based pretty much on the next year´s model already and for sure it will be interesting to see what the race performance of the new bike is."

So as we get a glimpse of a possible future, how would Kallio judge the weekend a success? As you'd expect: " If I manage to beat the factory riders, then the weekend would be successful for me."