STONER: DU­CATI’S SE­CRET WEAPON?

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Motogp Preview -

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’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.