Pramac Ducati boss Paolo Campinoti has said he expects significantly better results in 2010 from Finn Mika Kallio and Spanish rookie Aleix Espargaro.
Campinoti branded a tough 2009 as one of the worst in Pramac’s history and said he expects to see Kallio emerge as a regular top eight contender in 2010.
Kallio finished 15th in last year’s world championship having shown plenty of promise without ever converting it into positive results.
His best result of seventh in Misano came while on loan to Ducati’s factory squad as cover for Casey Stoner and Campinoti said: “Last year, in terms of sporting success, we were not very satisfied.
"After the various podiums achieved in the past, last year we didn’t feel like a protagonist. I am confident that we will reach good results as well as for the team.
"Last year was perhaps one of the worst years in our MotoGP history even though we have won the Rookie of the Year title with Mika.
"This year, he will have to make the step forward that allows him to always fight among the top eight riders. And Aleix Espargaro can be easily near him considering his good results in the last races of the past season.”
Espargaro will replace Italian Niccolo Canepa in the Pramac squad having impressed in four rides during 2009.
"He scored a best of 11th in Misano and Sepang to earn his premier class big break and Campinoti said a consistent challenge for the top ten was the minimum requirement for Espargaro and Kallio.
He added: “I hope to be able to fight for even better results. Outside of the three riders who currently seem to have a gap on the others (Rossi, Stoner and Lorenzo), behind them all can really happen.
"I am also very confident after seeing the new Ducati on track. They worked very well this winter in giving us a very competitive motorbike.”
Campinoti though is piling the pressure on Kallio and Espargaro having revealed he met both after the recent Sepang test to understand why they were only 12th and 15th quickest respectively on the timesheets.
He said: “The two official Ducati were in the top three and this has given me great confidence for this long season, but at the same time I am worried to see our bikes far from the top position.
"I immediately organised a meeting with my riders after Sepang test in order to understand what had happened.
"Both said that they had some problem that had undermined their work and I have saw in their eyes a great desire to prove their worth. These tests in Qatar will certainly be different.”
The Pramac squad completes its pre-season preparations for the new campaign in Qatar this week ahead of the first race at the Losail International Circuit on April 11.