Casey Stoner will forever be tied to the Ducati brand. To date, the Australian is the only rider to earn a MotoGP title aboard a Ducati, Stoner claiming the 2007 MotoGP Championship on a Desmosedici GP7.The 30-year-old departed from the Ducati brand following the 2010 MotoGP Championship, and joined the Repsol Honda team. He won his second MotoGP title with Honda in 2011, but shocked the MotoGP paddocks when he announced his retirement from racing at the conclusion of 2012 MotoGP.
Now – to the surprise of many – Casey Stoner will return to the paddocks with Ducati. Not as a MotoGP pilot, but rather a brand ambassador and official test rider. As part of the deal, Stoner will represent the brand at 2016 World Ducati Week July 1-3 at Misano. He will also help develop the GP16 during official MotoGP testing with Ducati Corse riders Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone.Casey Stoner says: “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. 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.”During Stoner’s 2007 championship-winning year – his first on a Ducati – Stoner won 10 of 18 races, earning the MotoGP title and giving Ducati its only Constructor’s title. Between 2007 and 2010, Stoner won a total of 23 races for the Bologna-based brand.Stoner remained with Ducati through 2010, taking second overall in 2008 behind Valentino Rossi, and then fourth overall in 2009 and 2010.Claudio Domenicali, CEO Ducati Motor Holding, also spoke of the agreement: “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. 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.”
This week we ride two genre-departing motorcycles from the established American manufacturers. Jess McKinley gives us his thoughts on the all new Harley-Davidson Pan America Special, and Ron Lieback gives his on Indian’s latest version of the FTR 1200 S.