MotoGP rookie Mika Kallio proved his winter testing performances were no fluke by setting the seventh fastest lap time on his official premier-class debut, during Friday practice in Qatar.
The Finn may have lapped 1.446sec behind factory Ducati star Casey Stoner, but he was the next best Desmosedici rider after the Australian and only 0.227sec away from fourth placed Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha).
"Today everything went quite well,” said the ever-calm Kallio. “I made it to be really constant and this gives me a lot of trust for Sunday's race. It will surely be important to work well tomorrow and then see how the race will go. I am really happy with this start. The team has worked really well. It has been really strange to work so intensively on two bikes due to the 15 minutes cut, but we will have to get used to it."
Pramac team-mate and fellow MotoGP rookie Niccolo Canepa had a more challenging session, which he finished in 17th position.
"Time has gone so fast today, 45 minutes are really not enough for a completely new rider like me,” said Canepa, who has not raced in the 125 or 250cc classes. “We will need much more time to find the best feeling with the bike and to find the best method of work. The position I am in right now it surely doesn't make me smile: tomorrow we will have to work even harder to sensibly improve."
"Mika is confirming at every session that he can do really well in the top class. During the test we made it to be even faster and we believe we'll be able to improve tomorrow. We made some modification on the bike after Jerez test and this has helped us a lot,” revealed Pramac technical director Fabiano Sterlacchini. “Niccolo has ridden really good during the test; we have to give him some time to get used to ride in the top class. With a bit of time I am sure he will be able to sensibly improve his performances."