Casey Stoner, MotoGP world champ in 2007 and 2011, has changed his mind about not wanting to have anything to do with MotoGP anymore, and will be back in 2016 as Ducati's test rider and brand ambassador
Back in 2007, Australian rider Casey Stoner had an unbelievable season in MotoGP, decimating the competition, winning 10 of the 18 races that year on his Ducati Desmosedici GP7, and winning the MotoGP championship in great style. Valentino Rossi took Stoner’s championship crown away in 2008, but Stoner made a comeback in 2011, on the 800cc Honda RC212V, beating the 2010 MotoGP world champ Jorge Lorenzo to take his second (and last) MotoGP title.
In a surprise move, Stoner quit racing at the end of the 2012 season, saying he would rather stay home and maybe go fishing. Over the years, he has strongly denied the possibility that he might change his mind and return to MotoGP, saying that he was done with racing and wanted to have nothing more to do with it whatsoever. But now, the rather dour, humourless Aussie seems to have changed his mind. Well, no, he’s not going to go racing again, but he is making a comeback to MotoGP as Ducati’s test rider and brand ambassador.
Between 2007 and 2010, Casey won a total of 23 races for Ducati in MotoGP, which might explain why Ducati are keen to have him back in their camp. “The 30-year-old Australian from Southport, Queensland, who is widely considered to be one of the fastest and most talented riders ever, will become brand ambassador for the Bologna-based manufacturer and, as part of the agreement, will appear at the 2016 edition of World Ducati Week, scheduled to run from July 1-3. He will also take part in a selected number of MotoGP tests for the Ducati Team next year,” says a press note from Ducati, explaining Stoner’s return to MotoGP.
“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,” says Stoner, though we’re not too sure if Dovizioso are Iannone want or need any “assistance” from a long-retired Stoner.
“I am really pleased that Casey has decided to come back to our family. He 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,” says Claudio Domenicali, CEO – Ducati Motor Holding. We don’t if he really believes that the “two Andreas” really need any help from Stoner towards further development of Ducati’s MotoGP bike, or if he’s also making these polite noises for the benefit of the press. Time will tell if Stoner chooses to stay on for a few years this time, or decides to go back to his fishing boats in 2017...