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Introducing the 2009 MotoGP Rookies: Niccolo Canepa

April 9th, 2009

This is the second in my series of looking at the 2009 MotoGP rookies. Yesterday we looked at Mika Kallio. Today we look at Niccolo Canepa.

Niccolo Canepa

Nationality: Italian
Team: Pramac Racing
Bike: Ducati
Date of Birth: May 14, 1988

Racing Career

Niccollo Canepa MotoGP Valencia Test 2008
2006 Finished second in the European Superstock Championship
2007 Superstock 1000 FIM Cup Champion riding on a Ducati 1098S.
2008 Tester for Ducati MotoGP and World Superbike machines.

He doesn’t have much racing experience, but he has been with Ducati for a while, hopefully he can do well for them.

Results in Off Season Testing

Jerez: November 2008
Session 1 – 11th. Session 2 – 7th.
The gap behind the leader for the first session was 2.549 seconds and 1.648 for the second session. The first test seemed to be Niccolo’s bright spot. He seemed to be improving.

Sepang: February 2009
Session 1 – 19th. Session 2 – 14th. Session 3 – 15th
Gap behind leader: 3.401, 2.538, 2.858. His performance wasn’t great here. I would have thought his previous experience on the Ducati would have helped, but it doesn’t seem like it did – he was the slowest Ducati rider on the track by about 1.4 seconds.

Qatar: March 2009
Session 1 – 5th. Session 2 – 15th. Session 3 – 13th
Gap behind leader: 0.611, 2.127, 2.202. The first session time seems good, but this was a rain soaked session where most of the top riders didn’t go out. The next few sessions he again slid to the bottom of the timesheets.

Valencia: March 2009
Session 1 – 17th. Session 2 – 18th. BMW M Award Shootout – 18th
Gap behind leader: 2.060, 2.572, 2.905. In the most telling test of the pre-season – the BMW shootout, Canepa was second last, only managing to beat a Honda test Rider – Akiyoshi.

Outlook for 2009 MotoGP Season

Niccolo Canepa MotoGP 2009 Rookie

Niccolo Canepa MotoGP 2009 Rookie

Things do not seem to be starting out very well for Canepa. Being consistently 2 or more seconds behind the leader won’t get many points during the season. The fact that he hasn’t been in a race in over a year probably won’t help much either. Time will tell whether or not he has what it takes to compete at this level.

Tags: 2 Comments

2 responses so far ↓

  • I’ve got my doubts about Canepa’s racing pedigree. He’s done a fine job for Ducati as a tester, but this is a very different role to a racer. He has moved from a successful Superstock season in 2007 to MotoGP in 2009 – a huge leap. I fear he may be making up the numbers on the grid this year. Now Kallio – there’s a rookie with some prospects.

  • [...] articles looking at the rookies of the 2009 MotoGP season. We already looked at Mika Kallio and Niccolo Canepa. Today we take a look at Yuki [...]