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Pasini makes MotoGP debut, but will not race
17 August 2009
Pramac Ducati claim to have been impressed with Mattia Pasini during his MotoGP debut in Monday's Brno test, but stated that the 250GP star will not race for the team this season.
With Mika Kallio promoted to the factory Ducati team for at least two more races, Pramac look in need of a new replacement rider after WSBK star Michel Fabrizio's stand-in appearance at the Czech Republic Grand Prix.
Friday's announcement that Pasini, rather than Fabrizio, would test on Monday was seen as a sign that the ten-time 125 and 250cc grand prix winner was next in line to get the seat. However, Pasini has now confirmed that he will stay with Team Toth Aprilia for the rest of the season.
Pasini, who is presently fifth in the 250cc World Championship with one win and four podiums, was 13th and last at the test. His best lap time was 3.443sec behind fastest man Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) but only 0.606sec behind 12th fastest Gabor Talmacsi (Honda).
"First of all I have to thanks Pramac and his team principal Paolo Campinoti, Ducati and all the people that allowed me to compete with the best riders in the world today. Thanks so much!” said Pasini, who rode for 66 laps.
“It has been a sensational feeling to go so fast. I pass from going 255km/h on my 250cc yesterday, to the over 300km/h [305km/h] today on the Ducati Pramac Racing bike.
“During the morning I had to adjust to the bike, but from the afternoon, after the heavy rain that has unluckily limited our learning procedure, I felt at ease and I could push much more. It is a really spectacular bike to ride with an incredible power. It doesn't seem so complicated to ride like I heard; on the contrary, it is really comfortable.
“The biggest different I found compare to my actual bike are the carbon brakes which have a totally different reaction compared to mine. Overall I am very satisfied on how things went today. Now I will have to concentrate to my 250cc championship as I still have the possibility to aim for the title,” declared Mattia, who is 72 points behind 250cc championship leader Hiroshi Aoyama, with six rounds to go.
Pasini was half a second slower than the best race lap set by Fabrizio, before his retirement on lap six due to shoulder pain, and Pramac team principal Paolo Campinoti thinks Pasini would have gone faster had it not been for the weather.
"A pity that rain limited the time at Mattia's disposal otherwise I am convinced that he could have clearly improved his fastest lap time of the day,” he said. “Anyway we are satisfied with how things went, as we are not so far from the other riders with much more experience in this category.
“We all know how hard it is to jump on a MotoGP bike and get used to it. Sincere compliments to Pasini: he is a guy who never gives up, tenacious and he deserved this opportunity even if we are sorry that he will not be able to ride with us in the next couple of races,” Campinoti confirmed.
It now remains to be seen who will ride alongside Niccolo Canepa at Indianapolis on August 29-30.
Canepa set the eleventh fastest time at the test, 1.5sec faster than Pasini and only 0.192sec behind the fastest Ducati of factory rider Nicky Hayden (eighth).
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