Author: Oli Rushby Posted: 23 Nov 2015
Casey Stoner has confirmed he will make a return to the Ducati fold in 2016 in the role of ‘brand ambassador’ and test rider.
Rumours gathered momentum that the double MotoGP World Champion would return to the manufacturer which took him to his first world title in 2007 earlier this month in Valencia, forcing Ducati’s Sporting Director, Paolo Ciabatti to respond.
Now, just weeks later, the firm has confirmed Stoner will work with them from 2016 despite having retired from MotoGP at the end of the 2012 season.
Stoner won 23 of his 38 career MotoGP victories with Ducati before leaving for the Repsol Honda team in 2011, which saw him go on to take his second title in 2011 before retiring from the sport just a season later.
Post retirement he continued his working relationship with HRC as a test rider before later competing in the prestigious Suzuka 8 Hour race for the official Honda team.
Now, Stoner will return to Ducati in an official test role, which will see him take part in a number of tests for the Ducati GP team next year. He’ll also make an appearance at the iconic World Ducati Week in his role as brand ambassador.
“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.
“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.”
Word in Valencia was that Stoner will also have the option to take part in a number of Grand Prix wildcards for the Italian marque next season. Stoner has always insisted he has no intention of returning to Grand Prix racing, but did ask Honda if he could stand in for the injured Dani Pedrosa at Austin earlier this year.