Michel Fabrizio, currently third in the 2009 World Superbike Championship, will make an unexpected return to MotoGP action at Brno this weekend, in place of Mika Kallio.
Kallio has been moved to the factory Ducati team in place of Casey Stoner, who will miss the next three rounds as he seeks to finally recover from his mysterious energy-sapping illness.
Although Ducati test rider Vittoriano Guareschi and former Grupo Francisco Hernando rider Sete Gibernau were also available, the nod went to Fabrizio - who took his first WSBK victory earlier this season and has made previous MotoGP appearances for WCM (half season in 2004) and as a stand-in rider for Gresini Honda (2007 German GP).
The Italian, who considers Brno to be his favourite track, could also fill in for Kallio at Indianapolis on August 30, but will be expected to return to WSBK duty for Ducati Xerox on September 6 - when the Misano MotoGP round takes place.
"I want to thank Ducati and Pramac for this gift!” said Fabrizio. “Brno is my favourite track and therefore the right place to come back riding a MotoGP 800 after the last time at Sachsenring in 2007.”
Fabrizio has previously claimed a best MotoGP finish of tenth, with both WCM and Gresini, and qualified second to Ben Spies at last month's Brno WSBK round. Fabrizio collided with Spies in race one, taking them both out, before a third place in race two.
“I know that I can't expect a lot because the GP9 is much different compare to my 1198 F09. The priority is to have some fun and enjoy a different weekend for me!” he said. “All the best to Casey, wishing him to be back in top form as soon as possible!"
Pramac team principal Paolo Campinoti said he had no hesitation in allowing Kallio to switch to the factory squad and revealed that it was Ducati which suggested Fabrizio.
"As soon as we found out that Casey wouldn't ride for the next three races in Brno, Indianapolis and Misano, together with Ducati Corse managerial staff we decided that our rider Mika Kallio would ride with the Ducati official Team after the good results achieved with us,” he said.