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Kallio is Rookie of the Year as Espargaró impresses again

Kallio is Rookie of the Year as Espargaró impresses again

Tenth place at Sepang was enough for Mika Kallio to secure the 2009 Rookie of the Year mantle, with Aleix Espargaró again impressing for Pramac Racing.

A top-ten finish in Malaysia at the weekend – his eighth of the 2009 season – saw Mika Kallio named the MotoGP Rookie of the Year, ahead of Pramac team-mate Niccolò Canepa.

At 26 points ahead of the Italian in the championship standings, the Finn cannot now be caught going into the final race of the season in Valencia. Albeit without stiff competition – due to Yuki Takahashi’s withdrawal earlier in the season and Gabor Talmacsi’s late arrival at round six – Kallio has performed well in his debut season.

Included in his series of top-ten placements was the 26 year-old’s best result of the campaign in San Marino, a seventh-place finish when substituting for Casey Stoner on the factory Ducati Desmosedici GP9, and Kallio was battling for sixth on his satellite Pramac machine at Assen when a final-lap crash ended his race.

Kallio is not content with resting up now however, and wants to finish on a high in Valencia.

“I am disappointed with how the race went today,” said Kallio in reaction to Sepang. “On the dry we could have had a much better result but with these conditions I didn't have much confidence with the rear of the bike to accelerate as I wanted. Instead, in braking, the bike was really competitive. In Valencia I want to ride a much better race.”

Espargaró, who equalled his best MotoGP finish for Pramac this season – at Misano – with eleventh, expanded his experience of the premier class in the absence of the injured Canepa, ahead of his full-time contract next season.

“In the first five laps I couldn't believe how slow I was going but I preferred to not take any risks in order to understand the reaction of the bike in these conditions,” he said of the rain-soaked race. “From the sixth lap I aimed for the group where there was Colin Edwards, Alex de Angelis, Mika Kallio and Loris Capirossi, and lap by lap I reached them and overtook the first two.”

“It was a pity I didn't start well otherwise I could have fought for a better position. I want to thank the Pramac Racing Team for this weekend of work which allowed me to further prepare for next season.”


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