Canepa out in the cold for 2010

One-time wonderboy left without ride following erratic season

THIS TIME last year Niccolo Canepa was hailed around the globe as the wunderkind of motorcycle racing, with his pick of either WSB factory or MotoGP rides. Now, at the end of a season littered with huge crashes, the Italian is looking for a ride in 2010 after being forced to sit out the final MotoGP race of the year to recuperate from injury.

Canepa will miss out on this weekend’s Valencia GP; Aleix Espargaró will take the Italian's slot for the final round of the 2009 championship and his full-time seat for 2010.

Espargaró has made three guest appearances for the Pramac Racing team already this year and gets the nod again for round 17 having successfully substituted for his Italian counterpart in Malaysia after Canepa crashed at Phillip Island in the previous GP and had to have a skin graft on an elbow injury.

Canepa said: “I am very sad I will not be able to ride this weekend as I really hoped to compete in this last Grand Prix of the season and to end it with a good result,” said the young rookie.

“I want to thank the Pramac Racing team, Paolo Campinoti and Ducati Corse for the fantastic experience I have had this year. Now I will have to think about getting back at to my best physical condition and to get back on track in my next sporting adventure.”

As one well-known race pundit once said: "That lad's a crater looking for a grid reference."