Mika Kallio is facing a tough 20th MotoGP race this weekend at Mugello, due to severely restricted arm movement caused by his shoulder injury at Le Mans.
Kallio joined Alvaro Bautista and Ben Spies in suffering a big accident during Saturday morning practice in France, but braved the pain to complete qualifying and then the race - albeit in a distant 13th and last.
That was on May 23rd, and despite medical treatment since, the Finn will still be far below 100 percent for Pramac Ducati's home event.
"On Sunday I will ride in my 20th MotoGP, shame to reach this goal with the shoulder in these conditions,” he said. “I underwent certain therapies and medical care to reduce the pain, but I cannot lift or bend my arm so well. I hope that on Sunday I'll feel less pain so that this will allow me to ride in best way my bike. This is considered by my team the home circuit and I will give my best to get a good result.”
By contrast, team-mate Aleix Espargaro claimed a MotoGP best of ninth at Le Mans, ending a nightmare start to the 2010 season and fuelling the Spaniard's hopes for Mugello.
"I can't wait to ride my bike on this track,” he said. “The Le Mans race has increased confidence in my ability - I fought and I got the better of some world champions. I've only raced four times at Mugello: two in 125 and two in 250, getting a ninth place as best result in 2008 while I was riding a 250. Here, I also hope, to instantly get confidence with the track and improve my lap times, lap after lap. "
Pramac team principal, Paolo Campinoti, has tasted past podium success at Mugello with both Honda and Ducati machinery.
“The Italian Grand Prix in Mugello is what we considered our home grand prix, the Pramac headquarters are less than one hundred kilometres away,” he said. “Here we have always had good results including three third places, two with Biaggi (Honda) and one with Barros (Ducati).
“We have completed the race with both riders earning discrete placements in the past years. Our best year on this track was in 2003, when we finished third with Biaggi and fourth with Tamada.
“Last year things did not go well, Canepa was in fact ranked ninth, and Kallio 13th, the wish is that Mika can recoveries the best as possible from his injury and that he becomes the protagonist of a great race."