KTM will shortly ignite MotoGP engines for the 2023 season of racing and development as the official test team take to the track for Sepang ‘shakedown’ sessions in Malaysia. The factory will now be able to count on the expertise and input of a three-rider effort behind the scenes as Mika Kallio and Dani Pedrosa will be joined by 29-year-old ex-MotoGP star Jonas Folger for 2023.
The discoveries and progress of the test team filter into the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Grand Prix squad as Brad Binder and Jack Miller subsequently start to mold the 2023 iteration of the KTM RC16 in two official IRTA tests in Malaysia and Portugal during February and March. The test team trio, backed by dedicated engineering staff, will be adding to the workload to get READY TO RACE for the 21-round campaign and to already assess concepts with a view towards 2024.
The crew currently depend on stalwart Mika Kallio, who has led the evolution of the KTM RC16 since the middle of the last decade and who made KTM’s wildcard debut appearance at Valencia for the final round of the 2016 term. Kallio has also made important replacement race outings, most recently for two events in the 2020 campaign and will fulfill an increased role for rider performance coaching.
The Finn has worked alongside MotoGP Legend Dani Pedrosa since 2019. The Spaniard brought his own sensitivity and depth of feeling to the KTM RC16’s story. He came out of retirement to contest the 2021 Grand Prix of Styria at the Red Bull Ring where he claimed a top ten classification. The 37-year-old is confirmed to race once more with a wildcard at the 2023 Gran Premio de España at Jerez in April.
Jonas Folger brings further experience and adaptability to the cause. The German completed nine full world championship seasons between 2009 and 2017 and logged a total of 5 victories in 125cc, Moto3™ and Moto2™ categories and 24 visits to a rostrum. The German vaulted to the MotoGP division for 2017 where he impressed as a rookie with a podium finish at the Sachsenring and ended the year 10th in the standings.
Pit Beirer, KTM Motorsports Director: “As the MotoGP season comes closer then the schedule for our test team also comes to life. Not many people see the crucial work these guys are making towards our project but their contribution is essential. For that reason, we have chosen to add Jonas to the team alongside Mika and Dani; who have both already built-up so much knowledge of our race bike and the steps we have made. We know Jonas quite well and he’s briefly ridden our bike before. He knows what it takes to put a motorcycle at the front of a Grand Prix and he is still young and has a lot to contribute. Compared to Dani and Mika he has a different body-type and style and that will also help us with our development. The test team is a fantastic group and I cannot stress enough how much of a strong foundation it makes for our MotoGP racing.”