Mattia Pasini has had a season of ups and downs in 2009. The Italian won the Mugello 250cc Grand Prix, then a couple of weeks later, he nearly missed out on riding after a dispute over unpaid lease fees saw Aprilia refuse to provide Team Toth with the ECUs for Pasini's Aprilia RSA.
As Team Toth continues to teeter on the brink of financial collapse, Pasini has just received news of another positive turn in his career. The Rimini-based rider is to test the Pramac Ducati MotoGP bike left vacant by Mika Kallio at the post-race test at Brno on Monday.
The decision to have Pasini test the bike may at first seem a little strange, as Michel Fabrizio is already in Brno and riding that bike this weekend. Logic would dictate that Fabrizio would be the right person to test the machine on Monday, having spent Friday through Sunday riding it, and already up to speed.
But there is a problem with Fabrizio: The Roman is currently still in contention for the World Superbike title - though he has a 53 point deficit to the championship leader, team mate Noriyuki Haga - and the Xerox Ducati boss Davide Tardozzi has already made it extremely clear Fabrizio should return to the World Superbike paddock as soon as possible. With Casey Stoner out for at least three races, the last of which - at Misano - clashes with the next World Superbike round at the Nurburgring, and Kallio having moved out of the Pramac team to take Stoner's place, Pramac need to fill Kallio's place at Brno, Indianapolis and Misano.
Fabrizio is in for this weekend at Brno, but so far, this looks like being the only race that Fabrizio will get aboard the Desmosedici. With Indy just a week before the Nurburgring, then Misano clashing with the German World Superbike Round, the risk of injury is too great for the Roman, and someone else will have to be drafted in to take Kallio's place in the US and Italy.
Enter Pasini. The Italian has made it clear he would love to move up to MotoGP, but he first needs to test whether he is physically capable of handing a MotoGP bike. Pasini suffered a horrific injury in a motocross crash early in his career, which severely injured his right arm, damaging nerves and causing a lack of mobility. The test at Brno will allow Pasini to see whether this lack of mobility can cope with the strains of riding an 800cc MotoGP machine.
If the test is positive, then that would clear the way for the Italian to move up a class, and replace Kallio for the next two races. This would both ease the strain on Team Toth's budget and give Pasini and Pramac a chance to see whether he could join the ranks of 250 riders moving up to MotoGP in 2010. Pasini will be looking to get within a respectable distance of Gabor Talmacsi and Niccolo Canepa on his first day aboard the Desmosedici. If he manages that, then he could well be in for Kallio at Indianapolis.