Two-time MotoGP Champion Casey Stoner is cutting ties with Honda and signed on to be a brand ambassador and test rider with Ducati. Stoner won championships with both manufacturers, winning the 2007 title with Ducati and the 2011 championship in his first year with the Repsol Honda factory team.
Stoner retired from MotoGP racing following the 2012 season but stayed on as a test rider for Honda while also racing V8 Supercars in his native Australia. Stoner returned to motorcycle competition this year, racing for Honda in the Suzuka 8 Hours endurance race but crashed out after his throttle malfunctioned. Stoner’s tenure with Honda will officially end at the end of the 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,” says Stoner.
Starting in the new year, Stoner will return to Ducati, representing the brand at events including the annual World Ducati Week on July 1-3, and will ride in a select number of MotoGP tests.
“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,” says Stoner. “[Ducati Corse General Manager] 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 raced 11 full Grand Prix seasons with seven seasons in the MotoGP class. In 115 MotoGP races, Stoner has 38 wins, 23 with Ducati and 15 with Honda. Stoner also has 69 career podiums in the premier class and 39 poles. His 2007 title remains Ducati’s only Grand Prix championship.
“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,” says Claudio Domenicali, chief executive officer of Ducati. “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.”
[Source: Honda, Ducati]