Mika Kallio will return to the MotoGP grid for the 2020 Portuguese MotoGP finale at Portimao after Tech 3 Racing confirmed Iker Lecuona will not be eligible to compete this weekend.

The Spaniard tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of the Valencia MotoGP, which as expected means he is also ruled out of the inaugural MotoGP race to be held at Portimao this weekend. 

It comes after Lecuona was forced to withdraw from the ‘Europa’ Valencia race a weekend before as a precaution when his brother came down with the virus.

Despite this, Tech 3 Racing will be at full strength for the finale with KTM test rider Kallio called up to replace the Spaniard, whose absence means his rookie campaign ends here.

“First of all, it‘s not an easy situation for the team and for Iker I’m sorry that he will have to skip this race as well. So, I’ll jump on the bike, which is not that easy at the moment, because I haven’t been on the bike not too often this year. 

“Obviously, it’s going to be interesting to see what my speed is and how I can learn the new track and many other things. Of course, the crew is new for me, so I have many things to learn. It’s a big challenge and we’ll go and do everything as best as possible. 

“It’s always an honor to race with a MotoGP bike and also being with Hervé and Red Bull KTM Tech3. I know them for a long time and it’s good to come back to racing, even if it’s only the last race of the season. 

“The finale is always a special moment for everyone and it’s always nice to be there with the best bikes and the best guys arounds, I always enjoy it a lot. We don’t have anything to expect there, we do our job and we will see where we end up. 

“When a rider puts the helmet on and the red lights turn off, I think the race mood will be there immediately. So, I think it’s going to be an interesting weekend."

Though Kallio has not competed in MotoGP full-time since 2010, the Finn has been kept busy in his role as KTM development rider to the extent 13 of his 45 career starts have come in wild-cards and stand-in stints with the Austrian firm.

 

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