Ducati announced on Tuesday that they would not be renewing their collaboration agreement with former double world champion Casey Stoner. The move had been widely rumored since the middle of the year, and the announcement was merely a formality.
For Ducati, the bulk of the test work will continue to fall on Michele Pirro, who did most of the development work. Stoner's input was valued by Ducati as he was able to lap at similar lap times to Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo, while Pirro is a couple of tenths slower than the factory riders. Stoner had helped with development of both the Ducati Desmosedici and the Ducati Panigale V4.
What happens next for Casey Stoner is unknown. Rumors continue to circulate that Honda are interested in seeing Stoner return as test rider, though official sources remain quiet on the subject.
Below is the press release from Ducati on ending their relationship with Casey Stoner:
Casey Stoner and Ducati conclude their collaboration
Ducati and Casey Stoner will not continue the collaboration agreement that has seen them work together since 2016.
The accord had been stipulated on a three-year basis (2016-2018) and in these three years, thanks also to Casey’s important contribution, Ducati has constantly improved the performance of the Desmosedici GP, which is now considered to be one of the most competitive bikes in the MotoGP World Championship.
The collaboration between Ducati and Stoner also contributed to the final development of the Panigale V4, as well as offering important suggestions for the development of other bikes currently in the Ducati range. In his role as Ducati ‘brand ambassador’, Casey was one of the undisputed stars of the last two editions of WDW (World Ducati Week) in 2016 and 2018, in which the Australian champion actively took part, and where he was greeted with incredible signs of affection by Ducatisti from all over the world.
“Casey is and will always remain in the hearts of Ducatisti and it is also on their behalf that we wish to thank him for the important collaboration he has offered us over the last three years,” commented Claudio Domenicali, CEO of Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A. “His technical indications and suggestions, together with the work and the feedback of the factory riders and Michele Pirro, have helped to make the Desmosedici GP one of the most competitive bikes on the grid, and his advice for the development of our production bikes has been just as precious and useful. Ducati and its many fans wish to offer their sincere thanks and their best wishes to Casey and his family for a serene and happy future.”
“I want to thank Ducati for the great memories and especially the support and enthusiasm of the Ducati fans for our shared passion for racing and motorcycling, I’ll always remember this,“ added Casey Stoner. “Over the past three years I have really enjoyed doing my job with the test team, the engineers and technicians, as we worked towards improving the Desmosedici GP package and I sincerely want to wish the team all the very best for their future endeavours.”