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Fabrizio grateful for MotoGP 'gift'
10 August 2009
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.
“As consequence we were looking for a valid substitute and Ducati's proposal to take Michel Fabrizio was the optimal choice. The Roman rider, even if still young, has great experience and we believe he can conquer good results."
The only riders ahead of Fabrizio in the WSBK standings are team-mate and title leader Noriyuki Haga (+53 points) and Yamaha star Spies (+46 points) with three rounds to go.
Fabrizio will ride alongside rookie Niccolo Canepa at Brno. Canepa claimed a MotoGP best of eighth last time out at Donington Park, a result that also matched Kallio's best of the season so far.
"The summer break was really useful to re-energise and forget all the small physical problems I had. I am back in full shape and motivated to continue my learning procedure and obtain some more good results like in Donington,” said the Italian. “With the bike the feeling is improving race after race and I believe in Brno I can do well. It is a track where I have already ridden in the past and I like it a lot."
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