Canepa Retains Pramac Seat At Estoril, Espargaro Out Again

The saga of Pramac Ducati is become a very off-again-on-again affair. After Aleix Espargaro made such a positive impression at Indianapolis and Misano, subbing for Mika Kallio who had been temporarily promoted to the factory Marlboro Ducati team, the Spaniard looked set to replace the current holder of the second seat at Pramac, Niccolo Canepa.

But the decision has fallen in favor of the Italian instead. According to, Canepa will keep hold of the Pramac ride for the rest of the season, after discussions between Ducati and Pramac team boss Paolo Campinoti. Campinoti's preference was to give Espargaro the seat, as he made clear to "I would have preferred to run Espargaro, because this would have given us better information to decide who to give the second bike to in 2010, seeing as [Mika] Kallio has re-signed, but that wasn't possible."

The problem was most likely one of image, according to Ducati were afraid that it would look bad if they were to drop Canepa this late in the season, despite the Italian's poor results all year and the certainty that Canepa will not be back in MotoGP next season. Ducati are already reeling from the criticism they received after chasing after Jorge Lorenzo, Ben Spies and Dani Pedrosa once they learned of Casey Stoner's three-race absence, and probably did not want to throw more oil on the fire of accusations that their MotoGP program is in disarray.

The decision to retain Canepa does not mean that Espargaro's chances of taking the Pramac seat for next year have disappeared however. But the choice did just become more of a gamble.

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I will never cease to be amazed by how lunatic certain decisions from Suppo are, altho it is sure that Ducati's image has suffer such a great deal during this Silly Season and this looks indeed like a restrain.

As we say in french: un pas en avant, deux pas en arrière ;)

Was criticism of Ducati (? -- don't really remember any myself) really so heavy that they were "reeling" from it? Given some degree of uncertainty back then about Stoner, not only for the rest of 2009, but also for 2010 (as speculated on here), and the fact that no one really knows what sort of private information Ducati had at the time, e.g. direct from Stoner, why should they be criticized for going after the only two available riders who have shown that they can get on the podium consistently? Ducati's had a long spell of running at the front and winning with Stoner, and I'm sure they've gotten used to that, including the financial advantages it brings, and so naturally they wanted a rider who'd give them the best chance of continuing those good results. I don't see a lot to criticize there; it's a business after all.

Canepa can't ride the Duc,,, and so what! Add his name to that long list. There is no shame. Espargaro CAN ride the Duc,,, add him to that short list,, and give him the seat time now so he can be ready and compete next year. There is absolutely no point or nothing to gain by letting Canepa race CV and GT for last place for the rest of the year. I do not know who makes these decisions at Ducati,, be he is over paid.

Espargaro has been a revelation so far. Ducati has found someone by luck who can ride the bucking bronco GP9 and the wise person who made the decision to try him after the failures of fabrizio and pasini should be commended.

It would be better to let Espargaro learn the bike as much as possible, seeing he has potential and assault the championship next year with a young rider who has the possibility of getting good results.

Espargaro in, Canepa out, makes good racing sense and sets up Ducati for a competitive future with Pramac Racing.

Pure speculation here, but I gather the funds weren't available to give Aleix the bike used by Sete?

Or give Aleix Nicola's second bike???

Probably that option would get messy, but it's a shame the way it has turned out for all concerned, including Nicola.

yep. more than meets the eye here! Contracts and $MONEY$! Come on you guy's should know this by now!

Money $$$$ makes the world go round. Sad but true!