It may not mean much, given the limited level of competition, but Mika Kallio secured the 2009 MotoGP Rookie of the Year title with tenth place in Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang.

Although five riders have made their MotoGP debut in 2009, only Kallio and Pramac Ducati team-mate Niccolo Canepa have been a fixture for the full season - and even they missed races.

Kallio was ruled out of the US Grand Prix at Laguna Seca by a hand injury, while Canepa has missed the last two races due to an arm injury in practice at Phillip Island.

Heading into the Valencia season finale, Kallio is an uncatchable 26 points ahead of Canepa.

Kallio has taken a best race finish of seventh so far this season - which he claimed during his temporary three-race promotion to the factory Ducati team in place of Casey Stoner. His best finish on the satellite Pramac bike is eighth, the same as Canepa.

Kallio, a 125 and 250GP title contender, looks set to finish his first MotoGP season in 15th place - he is 24 points behind James Toseland with only 25 points remaining - with Canepa likewise set to stay 16th in the standings regardless of whether he is fit to return in two weeks' time.

The only other rookie still in action is Gabor Talmacsi, who joined Scot Honda at round six and is presently 19 points behind Canepa.

Kallio will stay at Pramac Ducati for 2010, when he will be joined by 'supersub' Aleix Espargaro.

In contrast to this season, the 2010 Rookie of the Year title will be fought over by an all-star line-up of newly crowned World Superbike champion Ben Spies, 2009 250cc champion elect Hiroshi Aoyama, 2008 250cc champion Marco Simoncelli, plus multiple 250GP race winners Alvaro Bautista (also a 125cc world champion) and Hector Barbera.

500cc/MotoGP Rookie of the Year (last ten):

2009: Mika Kallio (FIN)
2008: Jorge Lorenzo (SPA)
2007: Sylvain Guintoli (FRA)
2006: Dani Pedrosa (SPA)
2005: Toni Elias (SPA)
2004: Ruben Xaus (SPA)
2003: Nicky Hayden (USA)
2002: Daijiro Kato (JPN)
2001: Shinya Nakano (JPN)
2000: Valentino Rossi (ITA)


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