2009 MotoGP rookie of the year Mika Kallio hopes that two of the main changes made to the Ducati Desmosedici over the winter will play into his hands.

The Finn will start preparations for his second season with the Pramac Ducati team when he takes to the Sepang racetrack alongside his rivals during testing on Thursday.

"Tomorrow will be the first time that I have ridden the 2010 bike," Kallio told Crash.net at Sepang on Wednesday. "I was still using the 2009 bike during the last test at Valencia. It will be exciting to see how the new bike is. I have heard some comments from Stoner and Hayden. Everything seems quite positive."

The headline-grabbing change for the GP10 is the switch from an even-firing 'screamer' engine to a 'big bang' design, as used by Ducati's Japanese rivals.

"The new [big bang] engine could be the biggest improvement," confirmed Kallio. "Last year I was complaining a bit about the power delivery. We tried to solve the problem but the [screamer] engine character was always there.

"Now they have improved this area and tomorrow we will see if it suits me also."

But while the revised engine is the most obvious change, Kallio believes a new front fork could offer the most progress for him personally.

"We have a completely new Ohlins front fork, which I will use for the first time tomorrow," he revealed. "For my side the biggest problem last year was front feeling.

"Normally I like to brake really late and it worked well for me in other classes. I was quite a hard braker. But last year, I don't know why, I couldn't get that feeling.

"I couldn't completely trust what was happening between asphalt and tyre. We worked on it all year but there was always something missing, so I hope the new fork will solve that."

The rear of the Ducati has also been redesigned, with several swingarm options available.

"The swingarm is different to last year. Now it is aluminium," said Kallio. "When we started last season we were using aluminium, then we swapped to the carbon one. We finished the season with the carbon one, but then tried the aluminium one at the Valencia test and the feeling was positive.

"Other riders also said they liked the aluminium more, so now we are back to that one.

"I think there are many different swingarm designs to try for the Ducati, which the factory team will test here. At the next test [at the end of February] we will also have some new swingarms and then decide which one to use for the races."

Factory riders may have dominated the results last year - claiming all 17 race wins, pole positions and fastest laps - but Kallio believes, at Ducati at least, the machinery differences are minimal.

"Of course there is always some difference between satellite and factory bikes, but at Ducati I think the difference between the bikes is very small," he said. "I got to ride for the factory team for three races last year, so I know this."

Looking ahead to the new racing season, the Finn added: "If we can improve the front feeling and engine character from last year then we should start to get good results and build some momentum. Last year was really difficult but now we start from zero again with the new bike and we will see where we are."

Kallio finished his rookie season just 15th in the world championship, a position influenced by five non-scores. The former 125 and 250GP title contender, who also missed one other race due to injury, recorded a best finish of seventh.


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