Aleix Espargaro to land permanent Ducati deal?

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Spaniard Aleix Espargaro looks certain to be rewarded with a permanent Ducati MotoGP deal for 2010 after impressing as a replacement rider in Indianapolis and Misano earlier this season.

Espargaro is expected to be confirmed as Mika Kallio’s team-mate in the satellite Pramac Ducati squad.

The Spaniard impressed Ducati and Pramac bosses when he deputised for Finnish rider Kallio when he was on secondment to the factory team as cover for absent Casey Stoner.

Despite having no MotoGP experience, Espargaro claimed a respectable 13th place on his debut in Indianapolis.

He then followed that up with a brilliant 11th place in Misano, though he caught the eye in the San Marino clash by clocking the fifth best time in the race behind the likes of Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo.

Espargaro landed the Pramac ride despite boss Paolo Campinoti holding talks with Aussie Chris Vermeulen, British rider James Toseland and Gresini Honda rider Alex de Angelis.

San Marino rider de Angelis had appeared favourite to join Pramac but he is locked in talks with several Moto2 teams for 2010 and is also considering offers from Aprilia and Suzuki’s factory World Superbike teams.

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt