It’s now official, Casey Stoner will return to Ducati as brand ambassador and test rider for 2016. The announcement comes after months of speculation regarding the Australian’s future with Honda racing, where he worked as test rider after retiring from MotoGP at the conclusion of the 2012 season. At the end of the 2015 MotoGP season, Stoner’s future came to the fore again as rumors of talks between the two-time GP champion and the Bologna brand were confirmed, with Ducati Corse Sporting Director Paolo Ciabatti saying that “we approached him to know what his thoughts are for the future,” during a MotoGP.com interview after the season finale in Valencia.
Stoner won the MotoGP title for Ducati back in 2007, amassing 10 wins during the season. During his time with Ducati between 2007 and 2010, Stoner claimed a total of 23 victories for the brand in the world championship.
His new role will include appearances at World of Ducati Week in 2016 along with a handful of MotoGP tests throughout the year. There’s no mention of the possibility of a wildcard entry in the press release offered this morning from Ducati.
“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,” said Stoner in the Ducati press release. “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.”
“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,” added Ducati Motor Holding CEO Claudio Domenicali. “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.”
Honda Racing Corporation was gracious in a press release of its own, thanking Stoner for the five year collaboration. HRC Executive Vice President Shuhei Nakamoto provided this statement in the release.
“We have great memories of Casey’s time with Honda. From the moment he arrived in 2011 in the Repsol Honda Team we had a very close relationship and we always enjoyed speaking to him about racing and technical matters. Of course his Championship win in 2011 was a very special moment for us and a highlight of my career. Even after his racing days were over, I enjoyed attending his tests to take with him and spend time together. We would like to thank him for everything he gave to us over the past five years and send our best wishes to him and his family.”