Efter fem års tilknytning til Honda vender tidligere dobbelte MotoGP-verdensmester Casey Stoner tilbage til Ducati. Stoner vandt MotoGP-VM med italienerne i 2007, og han scorede i alt 23 sejre for Ducati fra 2007 til 2010. Som en del af aftalen vil Stoner deltage i World Ducati Week i dagene 1.-3. juli, og han vil som testkører desuden hjælpe Ducati Corse med udviklingen af GP16-raceren.
Stoner blev i sin tid hentet til Honda af racerchefen Livio Suppo, som selv havde en fortid hos Ducati. Stoner vandt VM med Honda i 2011 og stoppede derefter sin aktive karriere, men fortsatte tilknytningen til Honda som testkører. De seneste år har japanernes nye wonderkid, Marc Marquez, dog gjort Stoner overflødig, og australieren var angiveligt skuffet over, at Honda ikke tog mod hans tilbud om at sidde ind for den skadede Dani Pedrosa i Texas, Argentina og Jerez.
Officielt siger Stoner (og Ducati’s CEO) således:
Casey Stoner: “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.”
Claudio Domenicali (CEO Ducati Motor Holding): “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.”