This weekend's San Marino Grand Prix at Misano marks the last time that Mika Kallio fills in for Casey Stoner at the factory Ducati team this season, providing the 2007 world champion returns as planned for Estoril.
Kallio made a strong impression with seventh place, comfortably ahead of team-mate Nicky Hayden, during his first hour with the team at Brno, but crashed in qualifying and then again in the race, while holding eighth position.
The young Finn reached the finish last time at Indy, once again in eighth - which equals his best on the satellite Pramac bike - but Hayden was third and Kallio, who had been hoping for a top five when he took the ride, admits he isn't satisfied.
“I equalled my best ever MotoGP result at Indianapolis and even though the race went better than practice I still wasn't satisfied,” said the MotoGP rookie. “My main objective now is to find another half a second off my lap times and to do that I simply need to find more confidence in the front end of the bike.
“I know the potential is there so hopefully I can make the most of it at Misano. It is not exactly my favourite circuit but it's okay. In 2007 I went pretty fast in practice - not so much last year - and crashed out of the race both times. Hopefully this year we can build on the work we did at Indy and get a good result.”
Kallio had been tipped as a possible full time factory rider for 2010 when he was chosen to replace Stoner, but will surely need a stunning weekend in Ducati's second home event of the season to keep that dream alive.
Instead, most believe the former 125 and 250GP title contender will now stay with the Pramac squad for a second season.
“Mika will be with us once again [at Misano] as we await the return of Casey at Estoril and I really hope he is able to reap the fruit of all his recent hard work,” said Ducati MotoGP project director Livio Suppo. “He has demonstrated during his debut season in MotoGP that he has what it takes to do well and I'm sure he will confirm his potential soon.”