October 22, 2018

Casey Stoner Returns To MotoGP

2016 Casey Stoner

Photo from official_cs27 Instagram

The big question going into Sepang for the first MotoGP test of 2016 – How will Casey Stoner fare on the Ducati?

Yes, Stoner is back! It won’t be until Saturday that Casey Stoner rides the Ducati Desmosedici as a collaborator in Sepang, but as is evident in the photo, the double MotoGP World Champion indicated on his Instagram account that he is already in Malaysia. Well, more than that: he has not only been on the track already but has set up his bike position.

According to Ducati’s schedule, Stoner will ride de GP15—the version which finished last season—over two days, January 30-31 , but as one of the senior team members noted: “You know Casey, with him you never know; he may follow the plan or it could happen that after five laps he decides to put last season’s bike to the side and continue with something different.”

This “something different” would obviously be the 2016 MotoGP bike—the GP16—which had its shake down yesterday in Sepang at the hands of Ducati’s test rider Michelle Pirro. Pirro is to continue with this job over the next two days so that Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone can start the development of the new 2016 Desmosedici from a “decent” point. Knowing Stoner, we wouldn’t bet against him riding the new bike, although it will likely depend on how the new spec electronics are working.

In any case, Stoner’s ride on the Desmosedici 2015 will be a kind of exam for Dovizioso and Iannone. Stoner’s performance will be held up to the performances of the two factory riders at the Malaysian GP held last October. Not many in Ducati’s Reparto Corse think their bike will perform better than the two Andreas had it performing last season.

So, after two and a half years off it would be unusual if Stoner can ride at the level of actively competing riders, but with Stoner you never know… We will have the answer in two days’ time.

P.S.: A question asked during one of the Honda test rides he made following his retirement: How long did it take you to get back in the racing rhythm? Casey replied, “not more than 8-10 laps!“

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