It is safe to say that Mika Kallio's three races at the factory Ducati team didn't live up to his expectations, but the Finnish rookie at least scored a MotoGP best of seventh on his final scheduled appearance in Marlboro colours at Misano on Sunday.

Upon being announced as Casey Stoner's temporary replacement, Kallio - a best of eighth with the satellite Pramac Ducati team - set himself the target of at least a top five race result.

"First I need to finish the races. I think our level is somewhere around fifth or sixth place and now, with this new team, we can do something better," he had said.

Unfortunately, Kallio failed to finish on his Brno debut after clashing with Marco Melandri as the Italian tried to take eighth place from the #36, before claiming eighth next time out at Indy.

The Misano weekend began well, with seventh and the leading Ducati in Friday practice, but front-end problems continued to thwart the former 125 and 250GP title contender, who qualified eleventh on the grid.

Hampered by the turn two pile-up, which claimed team-mate Nicky Hayden, Kallio was ninth at the end of lap one, before passing Gabor Talmacsi (Scot Honda) and Melandri (Hayate).

"It wasn't a perfect race and there is always something we can improve on but I think we can be more or less happy with that," reflected Kallio. "I made a decent start but I lost some positions in the first corner, which I wasn't happy about, and then the crash in turn two happened right in front of me. I had to back off and pick a line through the debris, which cost me time and a couple of positions.

"The guys who came past were slower than me but I struggled to find places to pass them over the opening few laps. By the time I worked myself up to seventh the group of Elias, Dovizioso and Capirossi was four seconds clear of me. I was gaining on them in some areas and losing in others, Melandri was also pushing me hard from behind so I couldn't relax at any point.

"It was a tough race and I'd hoped for more - maybe a top five or top six position, but unfortunately we lost that possibility at the start.

"Finally I'd like to thank everybody at Ducati for the faith they showed in me by giving me the ride and the support they have given me over the last few races, and I wish Casey well on his return.

"Hopefully I can take some positives back to my team and continue to make progress between now and the end of the season," Kallio concluded.

Kallio now returns to the satellite Pramac team for the final four rounds of the season. The Finn is still to sign for 2010.


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