Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Stoner Makes Ducati MotoGP Return

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Casey Stoner has left the door open to return to the MotoGP grid — if only for selected races.

Australia’s most recent MotoGP world champion has returned to Ducati, the team that earnt him his first title, as a test rider and brand ambassador.

His first test session is scheduled for the Sepang circuit at the end of January, the first private test of 2016 before the official tests get underway in Malaysia and at Phillip Island in February.

A fulltime return is still not on the agenda, Stoner affirming he still has “zero regrets” about retiring while at the top of his game in 2012.

But he has conceded that Ducati wouldn’t be unhappy if he should decide to make a few cameo appearances.

“Ducati want me to do wildcards and I’ve got options whenever I want, but at this point we have made no decision,” he told Motorcycle News.

“I’ll see how the tests go and hopefully I can get some test time on a grippy track that’s race-ready.

“My main focus is testing and to work on the development program to get Ducati back to winning races.”

Stoner recently revealed that he left his test rider role Honda after feeling as though he was being under used, suspection that Marc Marquez was not too keen on his presence in the company’s program.

His only motorcycle race since retiring from MotoGP came at the Suzuka 8 Hours endurance race last year.

Despite a long lay-off and not having raced at the Japanese circuit since 2003, Stoner showed no rust in qualifying his Honda third on the grid.

Race day was less successful: a mechanical failure caused the throttle to jam on his bike. The ensuing high-speed crash leaving Stoner with a broken shoulderblade and leg, before suffering a problem with one of his kidneys a few months later.

Now fully recovered, Stoner said he would be fit and ready for his first test of 2016.

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