MOTOGP » Mika Kallio
Mika Kallio made his MotoGP debut in 2009, riding for the Pramac Ducati team. The Finn consistently outpaced team-mate and fellow rookie Niccolo Canepa, resulting in a brief stint at the factory team when Casey Stoner skipped three events through sickness, but was also accident prone.
Kallio took a best race result of seventh on the Marlboro bike, and eighth with Pramac, but was only 15th in the final standings and missed the US GP due to a hand injury.
Nevertheless, his raw speed was enough to secure a second season at Pramac for 2010, where he will be teamed with Aleix Espargaro.
Kallio, a multiple 125cc champion in his native Finland, made his 125cc grand prix debut at the 2001 German GP and finished his first full season eleventh in the championship, for the Ajo Motorsport Honda team.
Kallio then switched to the factory KTM team midway through 2003, but had just two podiums to his credit by the end of the following year. However, 2005 was a breakthrough season for the Finn, who scored his first four victories plus a further six podiums to finish second in the world championship standings.
Kallio was 125cc title runner-up once again in 2006, before making an instant impact on his debut season in the quarter-litre class, with two race wins. The 25-year-old made an excellent start to the 2008 championship, winning three of the first eight races, but steadily lost ground to Gilera's Marco Simoncelli - who took the title lead at round ten in Germany.
Mika then lost second in the standings to Aprilia's Alvaro Bautista but comfortably remained the top KTM rider, with the new best Austrian machine that of team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama in seventh, 57 points behind Kallio.