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Canepa playing the numbers game for 2009

Canepa playing the numbers game for 2009

Pramac Racing debutant Niccolo Canepa had a small concession to make with his racing number for his maiden MotoGP season.

Ducati´s satellite team in MotoGP has operated something of a revolving door for their lineups in recent years, and for the second consecutive season the Pramac Racing outfit are fielding two all-new riders for 2009. One of the debuting duo is former test rider Niccolo Canepa, who himself has had to ring in the changes early with his racing number.

The Italian has run number 59 throughout his fledgling career, through time in superstock, MotoGP test and superbike wildcard appearances. However, with Sete Gibernau returning to the premier class to find his number 15 in the hands of Alex de Angelis, the former World Championship runner-up´s second choice left Canepa looking for a new figure.

`I can´t use number 59 because Sete wanted it. For me it was a little bit of a problem because I´d used it since my first race in 1998,´ says Canepa. Gibernau had elected to use the number in recognition of the formation year of Bultaco, the bike company set up by his grandfather.

`I chose 88 because I was born in 1988; I don´t think that Sete will be racing for ten more years, so I´ll take the 59 again some day!´ joked the newcomer.

Canepa finds himself in the curious situation of having immense experience with his new ride, but little of the 18 tracks at which he will compete next season. It is an inverse setup to that of new teammate Mika Kallio, with the philosophy being to share ideas between the two.

`I´ve got more experience of the bike, he has more experience of the tracks. We´re two young riders so we´ll work together. I told him a couple of things about the bike before the first test, but he´s a very good rider so he can learn by himself!´ he said when talking about the former lower cylinder category star.

`I´m really happy to be here in the Pramac Racing team, and I can see that it´s going to be difficult next year because everyone is too fast! I did a lot of kilometres in 2008, so I´m confident for next year. The bike took a while to learn, but in places like Brno , Indianapolis and Mugello I did some good lap times.´

Canepa also revealed that he had already had a sneak preview of Bridgestone´s 2009 tyres in a test held at Estoril, Portugal a fortnight ago, with his verdict being that there was not a substantial difference between the new compounds and the 2008 rubber.

MotoGP, 2008

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