Iker Lecuona has been confirmed to miss this weekend’s MotoGP season finale in Portugal having still not recovered from Covid-19, with KTM test rider Mika Kallio announced as his replacement.
Lecuona was forced to miss both premier class encounters at Valencia as a result of the virus, having had to skip the European Grand Prix despite testing negative due to needing to self-isolate for ten days after his brother contracted the illness in order to respect his native Andorran law.
He travelled to Valencia in preparation for a return to action on Saturday of the Valencia GP event, though this time he tested positive for Covid on Friday evening and had to head back to self-isolation.
His Tech 3 KTM squad has now announced Lecuona will not be ready to contest the last race of the season this weekend at Portimao, the French outfit electing to replace him with KTM tester Kallio.
The Portuguese GP will be Kallio’s first race outing since the ’19 season finale at Valencia, having replaced Johann Zarco at KTM’s factory team for the final six races of the year after the current Avintia rider was stood down on the back of the San Marino GP following his request that the two parites contract for future collaboration be torn up after struggling to 12th in the manufacturer’s home event in Austria.
Kallio has worked as KTM’s main test rider since ’16, competing in 13 GP’s across the five season period and capturing a best result of tenth aboard the RC16, in the Austrian and Spanish contests in ’17 and ’18 respectively.
It is an unfortunate end to a first full MotoGP campaign for Lecuona, the two-time Moto2 podium finisher having undergone a mixed rookie outing after showing great speed on occasion.
He has scored three top ten results across the season-scoring a personal best of ninth in the Austrian and Alcaniz GP’s-though his copybook is blotted somewhat by four retirements, leaving him currently 19th overall in the riders standings on 27 points.