Kallio replaces KTM's Lecuona for Portuguese Grand Prix

FILE PHOTO: MotoGP - Czech Republic Grand Prix - Masaryk Circuit, Brno, Czech Republic - August 9, 2020 Red Bull KTM Tech 3's Iker Lecuona reacts after sustaining an injury in a crash during the race REUTERS/David W Cerny

(Reuters) - Finn Mika Kallio will replace KTM Tech3 MotoGP rider Iker Lecuona for this weekend’s season-ending race in Portugal, after the Spaniard tested positive for COVID-19, the team said on Tuesday.

Lecuona has missed the last two races, first after having to quarantine after coming into contact with a family member who had contracted the virus, and then after testing positive himself.

KTM test rider Kallio will join the elite racing circuit for the second time, having filled in for Johann Zarco in the KTM Factory Racing squad in the second half of last season following the Frenchman’s departure.

“First of all, it’s not an easy situation for the team and for Iker,” Kallio said. “I’m sorry that he will have to skip this race as well.

“I’ll jump on the bike, which is not that easy at the moment, because I haven’t been on the bike too often this year. 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.”

Lecuona is 19th in the standings with 27 points.

Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson