STONER: DUCATI’S SECRET WEAPON?
While Ducati may have a rider lineup more than capable of taking race wins, they may also have a secret weapon in the quest for wins in 2016 in the shape of double world champion Casey Stoner.
Officially returning to the manufacturer in only a testing capacity Stoner nonetheless looks almost certain to venture onto track for a number of wildcard appearances.
MCN’S sources have revealed that Stoner and the team have already agreed financial terms for a limited series of appearances, so it seems like only a matter of time before his racing return – potentially at both his own and Ducati’s home races at Phillip Island and Misano.
Speaking to MCN, Stoner said: “It was a little disappointing last year with a few comments being thrown about that there was no way I would be competitive if I came back to do a race. And at Sepang it has been even longer away and I am still just as competitive.
“I’ve often had some doubts in my mind about my speed so in some ways my times were surprising. But once I get on track and I’m comfortable with the bike then I know how to go fast.”
Furthermore, the Australian has already made it quite clear in the recent past that he wants to return to action on a Motogp machine. Desperately keen to sit in for Dani Pedrosa on the Repsol Honda after the Spaniard’s arm pump surgery, only a decision by Honda top bosses – who suggested that he would no longer be competitive – stopped the plan.
But with an all-new 2016 machine that finally seems to have fixed the problems of the bike Valentino Rossi inherited from Stoner, it’s hard to rule out the 30-year-old being competitive if he does choose to return.
Whether he’d return fast enough to break the Ducati win drought that stretches back to his 2010 Australian GP victory is a tough question to answer – but it’s still hard to rule out an upset to the normal pecking order!
‘Once I get on track and I’m comfortable then I know how
to go fast’