Aleix Espargaro underlined why he has been given a 2010 MotoGP ride by the Pramac Ducati team with eleventh place in Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix, only his third MotoGP race and first ever in the wet.
The result equalled the best MotoGP finish of his short, stand-in, career - and he crossed the line just 1.2sec behind highly-rated team-mate Mika Kallio and 1.3sec from Loris Capirossi (Suzuki).
"In the first five laps I couldn't believe how slow I was going but I preferred not to take any risks and understand the reaction of the bike in these conditions,” said the young Spaniard, who was 16th at the end of lap one.
“From the sixth lap I aimed at the group containing Edwards, de Angelis, Kallio and Capirossi, and lap by lap I reached them - overtaking the first two. A pity I didn't start well otherwise I could have fought for better positions.
“I want to thank the Pramac Racing Team for this weekend, which allowed me to grow in preparation for next season,” concluded the 20-year-old, who was riding in place of the injured Niccolo Canepa, whose seat he has been given for 2010.
“From my point of view Aleix has accomplished a really positive race,” said Pramac technical director Fabiano Sterlacchini. “He is a really intelligent rider, which he showed in the first laps when he was studying the reaction of the bike in the wet.
“Then, when he understood the situation, he started to push more and caught riders much more experienced than him. Really, my sincere compliments to him for today's performance."