Ten days after team principal Paolo Campinoti revealed that Mika Kallio would stay at Pramac Ducati for the 2010 MotoGP season (see previous story) an agreement with the Finnish star has been officially confirmed.

Kallio, a seven time 125GP and five time 250GP race winner, sits 15th in the MotoGP World Championship with four rounds to go, but remains on course to claim the rookie of the year title ahead of team-mate Niccolo Canepa and Scot Honda's Gabor Talmacsi.

The #36 has taken a best finish of eighth as a Pramac rider, then claimed seventh at the end of three races as Casey Stoner's replacement at the factory Ducati team.

Kallio, who was on target for sixth place at Assen until a last lap fall, which ruled him out of the following US Grand Prix, will return to the satellite Pramac squad from this weekend's Portuguese Grand Prix.

"Now that we have agreed for next season we can exclusively concentrate to do our job on track," said the 26-year-old. "I am very happy to be able to continue with the Pramac Racing Team, Paolo Campinoti and Ducati to give continuity to this project.

"This season is going in a positive direction with high and low point, but considering that it is my rookie season it's normal: we confide to be able to improve together next year."

"We are very happy to agree with Mika and continue to work together also in the next season," said Campinoti. "This year, at his MotoGP debut, he has obtained positive performances and we believe we can improve next year. We believe in his riding abilities and we are proud to be able to continue this project together."

Kallio's deal confirms that there is only one Desmosedici seat still free for 2010 - and Canepa was in danger of being replaced even before the end of this season, with Pramac keen to retain super-sub Aleix Espargaro for Estoril.

Fortunately for Canepa - who has finished all but one race and claimed a best result of eighth - Ducati appeared to veto the switch and the 21-year-old Italian is fired-up to make the most of his second chance.

"I am very happy to be back on track after this long break. I had the time to think and evaluate my situation and now I am really motivated to face these last four races," he said. "I know Estoril very well as I have done some tests last year and I hope to be able to obtain a good result for me and for my Team. I have to payback the trust it has been given to me and I hope to do it in this last part of the season."

Ducati has always had one Italian rider on its grand prix machines, but a recent test session for 250GP star Mattia Pasini can only be seen as another worrying sign for Canepa in terms of 2010.

"Niccol? still has to demonstrate his potential: he has four races left to do it and we will support him in the best way possible to put him in the ideal conditions to race," said Campinoti.

Canepa is one place and 16 points behind Kallio in the championship standings.

2010 MotoGP World Championship - confirmed line-up:

1. Valentino Rossi ITA Fiat Yamaha
2. Jorge Lorenzo SPA Fiat Yamaha
3. Casey Stoner AUS Ducati Marlboro
4. Nicky Hayden USA Ducati Marlboro
5. Dani Pedrosa SPA Repsol Honda
6. Andrea Dovizioso ITA Repsol Honda
7. Loris Capirossi ITA Rizla Suzuki
8. Alvaro Bautista SPA Rizla Suzuki*
9. Marco Melandri ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini
10. Marco Simoncelli ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini*
11. Hector Barbera SPA Aspar Ducati*
12. Mika Kallio FIN Pramac Ducati
13. Randy de Puniet FRA LCR Honda

* rookie Colin Edwards looks certain to stay at Tech 3 Yamaha but no official announcement has yet been made

Comments

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment