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Euro Sport / Sports

Kallio to make five KTM MotoGP starts in 2018

KTM test rider Mika Kallio is set to enter five MotoGP races as a wildcard next season.

KTM test rider Mika Kallio is set to enter five MotoGP races as a wildcard next season.

After giving the KTM RC16 its race debut at Valencia last year, Kallio made a further four showings across the 2017 campaign, racing at the Sachsenring, Red Bull Ring, Aragon and Valencia.

The Finn impressed when he took 10th place in Austria, which prompted speculation that he could be in line to replace regular rider Bradley Smith for 2018.

However, KTM ultimately announced it would honour Smith's two-year deal before the end of the season, while retaining Kallio as test rider.

The Austrian manufacturer has lodged five wildcard applications for Kallio for 2018, which have been accepted by the Grand Prix Commission.

He will make his first appearance of the year in May's Jerez race, before returning for Barcelona, the Sachsenring, Red Bull Ring and Aragon.

MotoGP's concession teams - which include Aprilia and Suzuki as well as KTM - are permitted to enter up to six wildcards per season, with the remaining manufacturers restricted to only three.

New 'Independent Trophy' launched

MotoGP's top independent rider and team will be officially recognised next season with the introduction of the 'Independent Team Trophy' and 'Independent Team Rider Trophy'.

Tech3 Yamaha's Johann Zarco was the highest-placed eligible rider in this year's standings, placing sixth, while the French squad was also the top satellite team in fourth overall.

Moto2 and Moto3 will also be given their own teams' standings next season, with both categories up to now only having had riders' and manufacturers' classifications.