Espargaro To Take Pramac MotoGP Ride, Not Pasini

After Mattia Pasini was drafted in to test the Pramac Ducati MotoGP bike, on the official one-day test after the Brno MotoGP round, speculation grew that the Italian 250cc star would be given the nod to race the Pramac bike for the next two MotoGP rounds, at Indianapolis and Misano. To many people's surprise, once he gave the Desmosedici GP9 back to the Pramac mechanics, he thanked them nicely and then told everyone that he had learned what he wanted to know, and that he had no intention of racing the bike. Instead, Pasini said, he would return to the 250cc championship where he is still theoretically in with a shot at the title.

This left Pramac casting about for a replacement. With the 250cc season also coming to a head and the Misano race clashing with the next round of World Superbikes at the Nurburgring, the list of possible substitutes was looking pretty threadbare. But within a couple of days of testing finishing at Brno, the Pramac squad have found a suitable replacement: For the next two rounds, the Ducati left vacant by Mika Kallio's temporary elevation to the factory Marlboro Ducati team will be filled by former 250cc star Aleix Espargaro. According to, Espargaro was offered the ride after former Suzuki rider John Hopkins declined, when the team refused to offer him a contract for 2010 on top of the two wild card rides at Indy and Misano.

Aleix Espargaro at the Sachsenring

Espargaro - brother of Pol, the Derbi rider who is still in the hunt for at least a top 3 finish in the 125cc championship - had been left unemployed this year, after the Lotus Aprilia 250cc team called it quits at the end of last season. Since then, Aleix has filled his season picking up some odd - but interesting - jobs and lining himself up for a return in 2010. Most of Espargaro the Elder's time has been taken up with various Moto2 projects, the Spaniard being involved in testing the Promoracing Moto2 bike in the Spanish CEV championship. But Esparagaro has also made a brief return to the 250cc class, putting in a couple of impressive rides on the Aspar-run Balatonring Team bike, finishing 4th at Assen and 7th at the Sachsenring.

Espargaro, like Pasini and Scot Honda rider Gabor Talmacsi, has never ridden a MotoGP bike, and the first session of free practice next Friday at Indianapolis will be his first opportunity to get acquainted to the bike. But his arrival may give us a glimpse of the future. Having spent considerable time on a Moto2 bike - at least, the current spec of Moto2 machine currently being campaigned in the Spanish Championship, and so without the spec Honda engine - he has some understanding of setting up a four stroke racing bike, and understands the options available on a prototype chassis. It will be interesting to see how quickly Espargaro picks up the pace on the Desmosedici, and whether any of the skills learned testing the Moto2 bike are transferrable to a MotoGP bike. This, after all, is what Moto2 is supposed to achieve.

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I am not finding anything in the rules that states that a rider cannot enter multiple classes simultaneously. I do know that this was not uncommon in past decades.

If Pasini had the option of entering both the 250 and MotoGP races and still refused to ride the Ducati, that seems pretty damning.

It's allowed, but not possible any more. The teams have an obligation to provide a rider, and if their rider is injured riding in a different class, that causes them a huge problem. And the days of riders riding in multiple classes are a long time ago, when the competition was not at the same level as it is today. It's probably not physically possible any more, at least not without being lapped in both classes.

I'm sorry, but I really am starting to hate Hopkins more and more. I'm sorry to say it but he picked his poison by taking the money with kawasaki and that left him high and dry this season. Now he is making demands for a contract back into MotoGP,

I would think that if hopper is fit to race, then the team that he's currently signed to would expect him to be racing for them. Given that Stiggy took Hopper in while everyone else at World Championship level politly said "no room at the inn", I'd think that they'd be pretty peeved if he jumped into bed with Pramac. Had Pramac offered Hopper a ride for 2010, I think he would have been able to live wth Mr Stigfelt's peevedness.

display of grounded and focused priorities from a MC racer. I need to sit down.,,, Bravo Mattia!!
Instead of going to motogp just to be in motogp and for sure languishing below the top 10 (mostly because of the bike), he chooses to race and compete for a title in another class.

With all of the nonsense of racing only for money floating around lately,, again I say Bravo Mattia for deciding to compete for wins.