BOLOGNA, Italy – official team releases — Ducati photo —
Ducati Corse has announced that two-time MotoGP World Champion Casey Stoner will return to the Italian manufacturer next year in the role of brand ambassador and test rider after being associated with the Honda Racing Corporation since 2011.
Stoner won the 2007 MotoGP World Championship on the Ducati Desmosedici GP with 10 wins in 18 races, results that also helped the Italian manufacturer to clinch the Constructors’ title. Between 2007 and 2010, Stoner won a total of 23 races for Ducati.
The 30-year-old Australian, 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.
“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,” Stoner said. “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.”
In 2011 Stoner left Ducati to join the Honda Racing Corporation and the Repsol Honda team, winning his second MotoGP World Championship the same season thanks in large part to 10 victories.
He remained under contract with the Honda Racing Corporation after his retirement following the 2012 season, testing for the team as well as racing in the Suzuka 8 Hours event this year where he suffered a broken right scapula and a fractured left tibia in a crash. Stoner also spent time racing in the Australian Dunlop V8 Supercar Series in 2013.
“We have great memories of Casey’s time with Honda,” said HRC Executive Vice President Shuhei Nakamoto. “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.”
CREDIT: Ducati Corse and Honda Racing Corporation