Mika Kallio is to stay with the Pramac Ducati team for the 2010 season. The 26-year-old rookie will return to Pramac at Estoril this weekend after a three-race stint with the factory Ducati squad in place of the unwell Casey Stoner.
Kallio has impressed greatly on his graduation from 250cc with the satellite Ducati squad this year. He took four top ten finishes and qualified in the top ten three times with Pramac before his Ducati stint, where he achieved his current MotoGP career best of seventh at Misano.
The Finn said that completing a 2010 deal would take the pressure off him for this year's remaining four races.
"Now that we have agreed for next season we can exclusively concentrate to do our job on track," said Kallio. "I am very happy to be able to continue with the Pramac Racing Team, Paolo Campinoti and Ducati to give continuity to this project.
"This season is going in a positive direction with high and low points, but considering that it is my rookie season it's normal. We're confident of being able to improve together next year."
Team boss Paolo Campinoti reckons Kallio will get stronger and stronger next year.
"We are very happy to reach agreement with Mika and continue to work together in the next season," he said. "This year, in his MotoGP debut, he has obtained positive performances and we believe we can improve next year. We believe in his riding abilities and we are proud to be able to continue this project together."
Kallio's teammate Niccolo Canepa has been confirmed for the rest of the season with Pramac, despite speculation that Aleix Espargaro's strong form when deputizing for Kallio would see the Spanaird retained on the team's second bike instead. But Campinoti said that Canepa, who has struggled throughout his rookie season, would have to prove himself over the rest of the championship to stand a chance of a 2010 ride.
"Niccolo still has to demonstrate his potential," said Campinoti. "He has four races left to do it and we will support him in the best way possible to put him in the ideal conditions to race."
Canepa acknowledged that the next few rounds would be make or break for his MotoGP career.
"I had the time to think and evaluate my situation and now I am really motivated to face these last four races," said the 21-year-old Italian. "I have to pay back the trust that has been given to me and I hope to do it in this last part of the season."