There is a 21-year-old rookie in MotoGP this year by the name of Karel Abraham. He rides a Ducati on the Cardion AB team, owned by his father. His father also owns the Brno racing circuit, and Karel has been racing GPs since 2005. Like plenty of other young racers, Mr. Abraham says his hero is Valentino Rossi. He did not have the greatest of success in the past, but won his first GP last year in the Moto2 class.
Before you dismiss Abraham as a rich kid who doesn’t belong in MotoGP on his merits, consider this. He has been the fastest Ducati in qualifying twice despite receiving far less factory support than either Valentino Rossi or Nicky Hayden. He did this the first time at Silverstone, where he qualified sixth. Earlier today, he was again the highest qualifier on a Ducati at Assen (7th). He is very good in the wet, and finished seventh in both of the rainy rounds this year, Jerez and Silverstone. He currently lies tenth in the points — top rookie.
It was just announced that Ducati will support his satellite team again next year with 1000cc bikes. Ducati is apparently impressed with young Mr. Abraham.