News 12 Nov 2015

Stoner poised for shock Ducati return in 2016

Dual world champion tipped for test and wildcard role.

Source: Supplied.

Source: Supplied.

Australia’s two-time MotoGP World Champion Casey Stoner is in line to make a shock return to Ducati in 2016, as a development rider with the potential for wildcard race appearances.

Stoner won his first – and Ducati’s lone – MotoGP title in 2007, but defected to Honda in 2011 where he won his second title. The 30-year-old has been associated with the Japanese powerhouse since.

However news broke during Wednesday’s Valencia test that Stoner could be announced as Ducati factory test rider once his contract expires at the end of this year, which would also likely lead to a surprise racing return next season.

“I can only say that Casey is a hero of Ducati fans and he won so many races and was a world champion for Ducati in 2007,” Ducati sporting director Paulo Ciabatti commented. “He obviously moved to Honda, but is still in the heart of Ducati fans and the people at Ducati.

“We will see what the future brings, but we know that his contract with Honda will expire at the end of this year and obviously if there’s a chance to do something together we would love to do it. That’s all that I can say at the moment.”

Currently a Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) test rider, Stoner put his hand up to stand in for Dani Pedrosa earlier this year at Circuit of the Americas in Texas when the Spaniard was injured, but the idea was quashed by Honda officials. He did race at the Suzuka 8 Hours in July, crashing out of the lead when the throttle stuck on his factory CBR1000RR.