Aleix Espargaro admitted he was surprised to be offered a 2010 MotoGP contract after just two rides for the Pramac Ducati team - and revealed that he tried to copy Casey Stoner's riding style.
Despite being without a single lap of MotoGP experience, the 20-year-old Spaniard was drafted in to replace Mika Kallio while the Finn deputised for the absent Stoner at the factory team.
13th at Indianapolis was followed by eleventh at Misano and, shortly after, an offer for a 2010 contract in place of Kallio's team-mate Niccolo Canepa, whom Espargaro had beaten at Misano.
“Yes sure it was a surprise!” said Espargaro, who will make a third MotoGP appearance this weekend, in place of the injured Canepa at the Malaysian Grand Prix.
“This winter I was in my house without a bike to race and to be in MotoGP next season is like a dream.
“In the two races the results were good, but not very, very good. I had to understand a lot of things. But I improved a lot.
“I looked at the technical data for Stoner. I saw a lot of things about his style for the Ducati and I tried to copy them!”
Aleix isn't the only Espargaro to have enjoyed a breakthrough year - younger brother Pol having won his first 125cc races this season.
“These last two months are very good for us,” said Aleix. “My brother won his first two races and also took his first pole in Australia. He has become so strong. And for me, two races in MotoGP and contract for next year. Everything is perfect!”