Pedrosa And Kallio To Stay As KTM Test Riders In 2021

Dani Pedrosa and Mika Kallio are to continue as test riders for KTM's MotoGP project throughout 2021. The two test riders, who have played a fundamental role in the success of the Austrian factory's MotoGP project, will carry on in their respective roles for another season.

The two riders have had a huge impact on the development of the KTM RC16, and their division of labor has been key in fast-tracking the project through 2020. Kallio continues his role as workhorse, doing preliminary testing of parts and testing durability, while Pedrosa works on preselecting packages of parts which work together to produce the best performance. Those packages are then passed to the factory riders for final approval before being used in a race.

The role of the test riders will be even more important in 2021, as KTM have lost concessions for next season after their astounding success in 2020, racking up three wins and five other podiums. As a result, Miguel Oliveira, Brad Binder, Danilo Petrucci, and Iker Lecuona will only be able to test at officially sanctioned test, putting more of the burden of testing on the shoulders of Pedrosa and Kallio.

Losing concessions also means that KTM will only be allowed three wildcards in 2021, as opposed to 6 for factories with concessions. Mika Kallio will continue to appear as a wildcard, Dani Pedrosa having made it abundantly clear that he has no interest in racing any longer.

The press release from KTM appears below:

Pedrosa and Kallio to continue as Red Bull KTM test riders for 2021
MotoGP 2020

Red Bull KTM have renewed contracts with former Grand Prix winners Dani Pedrosa and Mika Kallio to form the backbone of the MotoGP™ testing team for 2021 and continue work evolving the promising KTM RC16.

38-year old Kallio has been a key part of the MotoGP development crew for half a decade. The Fin debuted the KTM RC16 at the 2016 Gran Premio de la Comunitat Valenciana and has completed wild-card appearances and substitute racing duties since 2017; notably contesting six rounds with Red Bull KTM Factory Racing in 2019 and the final round of the 2020 campaign for Red Bull KTM Tech3.

35-year old Pedrosa joined the KTM team upon his retirement in 2018 and as one of the most decorated MotoGP racers of the modern era. The Spaniard brought 13 years of top-flight experience in the premier class to the KTM MotoGP project.

The work of both Kallio and Pedrosa and the testing squad helped KTM to win three Grands Prix with two different riders in 2020 and register eight podium finishes thanks to the advancement and potential of the KTM RC16.

Mika Kallio: “It is great to continue this project. Five years have passed already with this crew and I cannot believe time has gone so fast. It has been rewarding to see the development of the bike and all the phases which have got us here. Especially in 2020 with victories and podiums; it has been amazing. It is good to see all the hard work and dedication paying off for everyone involved in the project. I have worked with KTM for eleven years now during my career, which is basically half of my whole time in racing. KTM is my second family and I am proud and privileged to continue being with this company. I think the results of this year motivate both the crew and riders towards an even better 2021, so I am already looking forward to the upcoming season. I think we have now what it takes to fight at the top.”

Dani Pedrosa: “KTM is very keen to keep improving and I’m only too happy to keep working with them and helping their riders onto bigger goals. I want to thank Pit Beirer, Stefan Pierer and Red Bull for all their trust in me.”

Pit Beirer, KTM Motorsports Director: “We’re pleased to be able to keep the stability and all the knowledge we have with our current testing team. In 2020 we could show how well and how fast we are working behind-the-scenes for our MotoGP programme and both Mika and Dani’s input were important in the progress we have made. It’s only been four years but it gives the whole company a lot of pride and excitement to be able to set new targets and to make more memories in MotoGP.”


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Hi David,

Thanks for doing the good work you do. I hope you come back recharged in the new year!

We can assume that Cal didn't have a non-compete clause in his contract, because when he was terminated by HRC he just walked next door to sign on testing for Yamaha. But that makes sense becuase no current rider would sign a contract with non-compete clause, and anyway a current racers knowledge of the bike might be a bit limited by the fact that they need to focus on racing.

But Dani maybe not. He may be more immersed in the technology and strategy of KTM. And I can see his contract having more stipulations in it around intellectual property. He's also probably not that fussed with finding a job after KTM. He doesn't have to work  with quite the same urgency as a rider who is trying to stay active in the championship.

Do you know? Can you find out?



They weren't kidding about The Silent Samurai, eh? Has anyone heard a single peep out of Dani? 

This Era calls for Test Aliens. I admit I had doubts about Bradl, but don't now. Yamaha, Cal. Suzuki seems to be doing fine via Guintoli, although I would put his pace just behind these guys. Ducati has had Pirro a long time, his outright pace is also not Test Alien. Guintoli and Pirro might be seen as excellent Test humans. Plenty of fast racers are shite developers. One has to work with the bike they HAVE, not what the prefer. Then discerning awareness of it, and articulation. Sculpting it with a team of geeks. Valentino? Alien bike developer for his race machine but very wrong temperament for a Test guy -  mind and heart follow shiny promise with people and personal immersion. He isn't a worker bee. Does anyone else see Dovisioso as a prime example of Test material? Perfect temperament, Italian too. 2022 Aprilia would be great, but the poor guy has a broken heart. Motocross competition regionally looks a good thing for him, too bad for us. Aprilia need one. Heck, they got stuffed on even getting a Moto2 2nd or 3rd tier pick to race it. Weird times.

Let's all keep appreciating Dani. Still Aliening in a second bloom. Last thought is that suddenly stopping racing just to parade around shaking hands with a logo on your shirt is not good for you. This move to Test is. People need transitions for adjustment and pivoting their evolution. Not just buying a (restaurant) and indulging in (attention and alcohol etc). 

Cal, welcome. Jorge, hurry up and find something. Smith, go commentate. Aprilia, maybe the Pope can assist? Wait, already did that with Iannone. Try his boss? No, not Valentino, he's busy, the other one. Ask him for an engineer getting horsepower from Honda or Suzuki motors while you are at it?

This Winter feels long, and it is still Fall.