As we rapidly approach the high water mark of speculation about 2007, more rumors emerged about Casey Stoner. The Italian website Motograndprix.it is reporting that the young Aussie may be out of MotoGP next year. After being turned down by Yamaha, Stoner reportedly approached his current team boss Lucio Cecchinello with a demand for $2.5 million to resign with LCR for 2007, a demand which Cecchinello was unable, or unwilling, to meet. Similar approaches to Ducati have so far met with little reward, as the factory from Bologna are currently engaged in negotiations with Loris Capirossi for 2007, who is seeking a $4 million deal, similar to Sete Gibernau's contract, leaving Ducati with room for maneuver with Stoner.
This leaves Stoner without a ride for 2007 so far, and, by overplaying his hand so strongly in negotiatons, with little chance of a ride, unless he were to move to Kawasaki to replace Shinya Nakano, who is rumored to be moving to Konica Minolta Honda for next season. Stoner would have to moderate his wage demands a good deal to make that happen, though.
Stoner has shown huge promise during the early part of the season, taking a shock pole at the Qatar GP, followed by a 2nd place in Turkey. Since then, however, he has developed a fatal attraction to the gravel traps, falling in three races after making rider mistakes when being pushed hard (especially by his arch-rival Dani Pedrosa), and not starting in Germany after coming off during practice. In addition, Stoner has been very outspoken in his views on just about everything, including openly criticizing the bike and the team when he felt things weren't working properly. No one doubts Stoner's talent, but hiring the young Aussie is a high-risk strategy, and one which teams are seemingly loathe to take.
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Well, it seems like Casey isn't out after all. For more details of where Casey Stoner will be riding next year, see this post on his future here.