Canepa and Kallio all set for MotoGP debuts

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Niccolò Canepa participates in his first Grand Prix this weekend, whilst his Pramac Racing team-mate Mika Kallio also makes his premier class debut.

The all-new Pramac Racing line-up for 2009 of Niccolò Canepa and Mika Kallio begin their MotoGP experience this weekend in the spectacular setting of the floodlit Losail International Circuit.

Round one of this year’s World Championship at the Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar will see the MotoGP bikes roll out onto the desert track at 10.30pm local time on Friday, with Canepa getting his first real sample of the GP environment.

The Italian 20 year-old has plenty of experience in riding the Ducati Desmosedici given his previous role as test rider, but he has never raced in a Grand Prix, as a wildcard or replacement, and he is therefore highly excited about his debut this weekend – despite being unable to get fully on the pace during the ’09 preseason.

The youngest rider on this year’s grid, Canepa previewed his maiden GP saying, “I am so happy to be at the first race and my MotoGP adventure is about to begin. I can’t wait to get on my Ducati on Friday afternoon. I had a really intense winter; I worked hard on and off track to be at the best and I am ready.”

He went on to add, “I will just need a bit of time to get used to racing shoulder to shoulder again because it has been basically more than a year since I competed properly in a race. I like the layout of the Losail circuit, we did quite well during the last test and I hope to learn quickly.”

For Finnish rider Kallio, meanwhile, with seven full seasons of Grand Prix racing behind him in the 125cc and 250cc categories, the move into MotoGP is a logical step. The 26 year-old was third last year in the 250 class and - having boosted his confidence at the Official MotoGP Test with his sixth place in the BMW M Award - he feels ready to compete with the big boys.

He remarked, “Now we can start to be serious. Of course we haven’t been playing around this winter, actually we have done a lot, but the race is a different story. The performance in Jerez at the Official Test was really satisfying for us, but we have to keep our feet on the ground. In Qatar everyone will be eager to begin the season in the best way. Losail is a track that I like and I’m sure we can have a lot of fun. There is a lot going through my head, but there is no fear.”

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