Pramac Racing venture into new territory in Qatar this weekend as they prepare for the first round of the 2009 MotoGP season with a pair of rookies at the helm.
The only two-bike team to embark on an entirely new rider line-up for 2009, Pramac have opted for the young pairing of Mika Kallio and Niccolo Canepa to lead their assault.
Of the two, graduating 250GP rider Kallio has been the most impressive in testing, the Finn marking his arrival in the premier class with the sixth quickest time during the mock qualification shootout at Jerez last month.
He is looking forward to making his debut having spent eight seasons working his way up the grand prix ladder.
"Now we can start to be serious,” he said. “Of course we didn't play around this winter, actually we have done a lot and well, but the race, the true competition is all a different story.
“Our last performance in Jerez official test have been really satisfying for us, but we have to keep our feet on the ground, in Qatar everyone will be eager to begin in the best way the season. Losail is a track that I like and surely we can have a lot of fun. My first race in MotoGP is about to begin: many sensations are going through my head, but surely no fear."
At 21-years-old, highly rated Ducati test rider Canepa is also delighted to be getting the chance to start in MotoGP, particularly as he has been out of racing action for more than a year.
"I am so happy to be at the first race, my MotoGP adventure is about to begin. I can't wait to step on my Ducati Friday afternoon. I had a really intense winter; I worked hard on and off track to be at the best.
“I am ready! I will only need a bit of time to get used to racing shoulder to shoulder again because it has been basically more than a year that I don't properly compete in a race. I like the layout of Losail circuit, we have done quite well during the last test and I hope to be able to even improve."
Having persevered with the rather more experienced pairing of Toni Elias and Sylvain Guintoli in 2008, Pramc team manager Paolo Campinoti has faith in his new signings.
"Finally! This hasn't only been one of the hardest winter breaks for our sport, but it has been one of the longest. After all the talk over the winter, we can now get back to track action. It has been a constructive period for all of us, we have united our strength to improve our world and soon we will receive the benefits.
Our team has worked very well during winter testing and the proof is the good sixth position conquered by Mika Kallio during the only important hour in Jerez official test. We are really happy and trustful in the choices we made, Niccolò and Mika want to do really well and this is energizing the Pramac Racing Team for the long season that is about to start."