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Introducing the 2009 MotoGP Rookies: Mika Kallio

April 8th, 2009

The 2009 MotoGP season is almost upon us, so I thought it might be nice to take a closer look at this years rookies. Last years batch of rookies were pretty impressive, with Lorenzo coming in 4th, Divizioso 5th and Toseland 11th. It will be interesting to see if this years rookies and do as well.

Todays article will take a look at Mika Kallio.

Mika Kallio

Nationality: Finnish
Team: Pramac Racing
Bike: Ducati
Date of Birth: November 8, 1982

Racing Career

Mika Kallio at the MotoGP Jerez Test 2009

Mika Kallio at the MotoGP Jerez Test 2009

1997 – 2000 Mika Kallio started his career in Finland and surrounding Nordic countries. He won 3 Finnish 125cc championships, a Nordic 125cc championship and a 125 cc Finnish iceracing championship. He continued riding in the Finnish iceracing series all the way until 2007.
2001 Made the jump to the European 125cc road racing series, placed 5th.
2002 Made the move to the world championship. He was Rookie of the Year in the 125cc class. Came in 11th
2003 – 2006 Continued racing in 125cc world championship. His positions for the years were: 11th, 10th, 2nd and 2nd.
2007 Mika moved to the 250cc class and came in 7th in his first year.
2008 Placed 3rd in the 250cc championship.

Although he has shown a lot of promise, so far a world championship has eluded him.

Results in Off Season Testing

Jerez: November 2008
Session 1 – 11th. Session 2 – 7th.
Mika showed good improvement in his first tests on the Ducati. He reduced the gap from 3.312 seconds behind the leader in session 1 to 1.135 seconds in session 2. In both sessions he was right behind Nicky Hayden, who was the fastest Ducati on the track (Casey missed this test due to his wrist injury).

Sepang: February 2009
Session 1 – 13th. Session 2 – 13th Session 3 – 9th
His gap from the fastest rider was 2.536, 2.291 and finally 1.343 seconds, again showing consistently better times. Also notable was that in the final session he was faster than Nicky Hayden who is a new factory Ducati rider.

Qatar: March 2009
Session 1 – 3rd. Session 2 – 16th Session 3 – 12th
Gaps behind leader: 0.303, 2.625, 2.194. The first session results looked good, but many of the top riders such as Stoner, Rossi and Lorenzo skipped the session due to rain. Mika had a hard crash in the second session, which kept him from putting in as many laps as he would have wanted.

Jerez: March 2009
Session 1 – 14th. Session 2 – 13th BMW M Award Shootout – 6th
Gaps behind leader: 1.435, 1.796, 1.503. Although his positions in the first two sessions weren’t great he again reduced the gap between himself and the leaders on the track. Perhaps the most important result of the pre-season is the BMW M Award shootout where the riders compete for the fastest lap. Here Mika shined, placing a very respectable 6th, showing that he can indeed handle the Ducati machine very nicely.

2009 Season Outlook

Mika Kallio MotoGP 2009 Rookie
Overall Mika looks like he will be a very strong contender for rookie of the year, and might even be fighting for some podiums as he improves throughout the season. The big worry was a repeat of Ducati’s fortunes last year where no one but Casey could handle the Ducati, but things look promising this year.

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