Mika Kallio gave his 2010 MotoGP season a vital kick-start by charging from 17th and last on the grid to seventh in Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix.
After a DNF in Qatar, the Pramac Ducati rider had been no higher than twelfth throughout the Jerez weekend, and was ranked last on two occasions prior to the race.
However, an improved balance during the warm-up laid the foundations for the one of the Finn's best races in the premier-class.
"It's been one of my best races as a MotoGP rider,” he said. “I had a great start which kept m in touch with the leading riders. Lap after lap I saw that the changes made on my motorbike were good. I enjoyed very much fighting with Simoncelli, Melandri and de Puniet. I then leapfrogged the riders ahead of me and in the last four laps to take the seventh position. I am very happy with the result for the team and the technicians who have always supported me throughout this weekend.”
"During the warm- up, we solved some balance issues that we had yesterday in qualifying, trying a new set-up and getting good feedback already from the morning,” explained team technical director Fabiano Sterlacchini. “Then we have further changed something before the race. It was a wonderful race for us, the seventh place for Mika, after a great comeback, give us good feeling for the next races.”
Team-mate Aleix Espargaro wasn't so happy, crashing early in his home race and being forced to pit for repairs before reaching the finish in a distant last place.
"Unfortunately it was not the race that I hoped, I really wanted to get a good result on this circuit, the first Spanish stage of this year,” said Aleix, whose younger brother Pol won the 125cc race. “I had little grip at the start and I found myself in last place after the first corner, then when I was recovering some positions, I fell during the fourth lap and damaged the brake pedal.
“I lost some minutes but I wanted to go on the track again to demonstrate my value on this track,” continued Espargaro, who set the twelfth fastest race lap - slightly quicker than Kallio. “But then I returned again to the pit to make further changes. I now have my first points of this season, is not so much, but I hope to get a better result in the next grand prix."