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Canepa unfit for Sepang.

Aleix Espargaro will make his third substitute appearance of the season for the Pramac Ducati team, this time in place of the injured Niccolo Canepa, during the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang.

20-year-old Espargaro, a former 125 and 250cc rider who was left without a grand prix ride this season, stepped in to replace Mika Kallio at the Indianapolis and Misano rounds, where - despite no previous MotoGP experience - he finished 13th and eleventh.

On the back of those performances, Espargaro signed to ride alongside Kallio for the 2010 season, but an attempt to move Canepa aside before the end of 2009 was apparently blocked by Ducati.

However the Italian's arm injury during Friday practice at Phillip Island last weekend, which required skin graft surgery, means he is unfit to ride in the penultimate round of the championship - and Espargaro has unsurprisingly been called up to replace him.

"We are very sorry for Niccolò,” said Pramac technical director Fabiano Sterlacchini. “He really wanted to do well in these last races but due to his physical condition maybe this is the best solution.

“The cut was really deep and in a delicate area of the arm: under pressure it could have easily opened, causing more problems. We wish him to get well soon: we'll wait for him in Valencia for the last round of the season.

“Taking his place there will be in the team once again Espargarò. Our future rider will have therefore the chance to gain more experience for next year.”

"I am very surprised and happy to be back in MotoGP so early even if I am always sad when a colleague gets hurt,” said Espargaro, older brother of 125cc winner Pol. “I wish Niccolò to get well as soon as possible and be at his best for Valencia.

“I will use this weekend as a pre-season test: I have a lot to learn and this will be a great occasion for me. After the last race ridden in Misano I have constantly trained and I am sure to be in good physical condition even if in Sepang is always really hard due to the high temperatures and humidity."

Canepa will make his Pramac and MotoGP farewell during the Valencia finale on November 8.

"I am really sorry I won't be able to ride in Malaysia,” said Canepa. “The team and I have been working really well and in the last few races I wanted to get a good result. Doctors have suggested not to take any risks as the cut isn't looking too good and therefore I will be taking a break to be at my best for Valencia. I still feel a lot of pain but the worst has passed. I hope that Mika and Aleix will be able to get good results for the Pramac Racing Team."

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Espargaro, San Marino MotoGP 2009
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Pol Espargaro, German MotoGP race 2017
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Aleix Espargaro, German MotoGP 2017
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Pol Espargaro, German MotoGP race 2017
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Pol Espargaro, German MotoGP race 2017
Rossi, Dovizioso, Aleix Espargaro German MotoGP race 2017
Iannone, Pol Espargaro German MotoGP race 2017

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October 21, 2009 11:27 PM
Last Edited 2834 days ago

This will be a seriously tough race for Aleix, 30 degree heat, 90% humidity and wrestling a GP9 If he gets even near the top 10 here it will be very impressive

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