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Mattia Pasini gets second Ducati test
21 September 2009
Despite turning down the chance to race for Pramac Ducati earlier in the season, Mattia Pasini will be back on a Desmosedici MotoGP bike for a private test session at Mugello.
The Italian, a winner of eight 125cc and two 250cc races, looked hot favourite to take over from Michel Fabrizio as Mika Kallio's temporary replacement at Pramac when he was confirmed as testing for the satellite team at Brno.
However immediately after the test, which he unsurprisingly finished 13th and last, Pasini announced that he would stay with Team Toth Aprilia in the quarter-litre class.
“Overall I am very satisfied with how things went. Now I will have to concentrate to my 250cc championship as I still have the possibility to aim for the title,” he explained.
That seemed a strange statement as Pasini was only fifth in the championship and already 72 points behind title leader Hiroshi Aoyama, while Pramac team boss Paulo Campinoti made his disappointment clear.
“We are sorry that he will not be able to ride with us in the next couple of races,” he stated.
Despite the refusal, which may have been for contractual reasons, Pasini has clearly caught Ducati's eye and he will now ride alongside official test rider Vittoriano Guareschi - and under the supervision of Filippo Preziosi - during a three-day private test at Mugello from September 22 - 24.
On his rain-interrupted Brno MotoGP debut Pasini set a best lap time 3.443sec behind fastest man Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) but only 0.606sec from 12th fastest Gabor Talmacsi (Honda).
'Pasini already rode the Ducati in testing after the Czech MotoGP on 17th August and he was immediately at ease on the GP9, despite the test being affected by the rain,' said a Ducati statement.
'The Ducati technicians, impressed by the Italian rider and his way of working, decided together with Mattia to do another test, and therefore include him in this week's pre-planned testing at Mugello.'
Pasini remains fifth in the 250cc World Championship, but is now 85 points from Aoyama with just 100 remaining.
Following Pasini's decision not to race, Aleix Espargaro was called up by Pramac for Indy and Misano - the young Spaniard doing such a good job that the team tried to retain him for the rest of the season (see separate story).
The new test will ignite speculation that Pasini could replace Niccolo Canepa as the Italian Ducati rider in MotoGP next year, should the factory continue to want a home grown rider.
An alternative explanation is that Pasini's test is in case Stoner cannot return at Estoril, meaning Kallio would stay at the factory team for a fourth round. But if that was the case surely Pramac would again call up Espargaro, rather than Pasini.
Ducati has always had one Italian rider on a Desmosedici since its 2003 debut, but only the second Pramac seat looks available for 2010 with Casey Stoner (AUS), Nicky Hayden (USA), Hector Barbera (SPA) and Kallio (FIN) occupying the other rides.
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