Following the gossip epidemic during the final round of MotoGP at Valencia, Ducati Corse has finally announced that Casey Stoner will return to the Italian manufacturer as ‘brand ambassador and test rider.’ Despite the current HRC contact expiring at the end of 2015, Ducati has made the announcement on the final day of the Milan show.
Although there’s no mention of competing in MotoGP against the likes of Rossi and Marquez, it’s fair to say that if Stoner wants to race, Ducati will make a Desmosedici available for the 30-year-old – which will be bloody awesome to see. Michele Pirro – Bologna’s current #1 test rider – has made various wildcard appearances in the factory team along with an occasional injury replacement role. It’s also understood that Gigi Dall’Igna prefers authentic testing to be undertaken during race weekends anyway.
So what’s the bare minimum? As part of contractual agreements, CS27 will take part in a number of MotoGP tests for the Ducati team in 2016. Ducatisti will also be pleased that Casey has already been confirmed for World Ducati Week, running from the 1st-3rd of July at Misano world circuit.
Casey Stoner: “It’s been a great journey with HRC over the last five years, winning the World Championship in 2011 was obviously a high point and I’ve made many friends and formed lasting relationships along the way. For 2016 I am very excited to announce that I will again be joining the Ducati team! I have so many great memories working with the people and the brand of Ducati and the opportunity to work with them again is something very special. Gigi Dall’Igna has brought with him a new approach and I’m looking forward to assisting the team, Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone however I can. The Ducati brand and the Ducati fans have been such a big part of my career and my life, so it will be really great to reunite the relationship and start another chapter with this iconic brand.”
Claudio Domenicali (CEO Ducati Motor Holding): “Stoner has always remained in the hearts of all the Ducatisti and I am really pleased that he has decided to come back to our family. Casey has an extraordinary talent and with his experience he will be able to make an important contribution for Gigi and the two Andreas in the development of the Desmosedici MotoGP bike. His presence at WDW 2016 will be a special gift for all the Ducati fans and enthusiasts, who will finally have the opportunity to catch up once again with this great champion who brought the 2007 world title to Borgo Panigale and who won numerous GP races with the Desmosedici GP.”