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For the first time since Valencia 2012, the last time he raced in the MotoGP™ World Championship, Casey Stoner was on a Grand Prix bike in Europe. Since leaving racing at the end of 2012, the Australian has tested for Honda in Japan, run in the Suzuka 8 Hour and done two tests for Ducati in Sepang and Qatar. The Australian made his return to Europe and Ducati’s home circuit on the eve of World Ducati Week, where he will be one of the main draws.
Details and times from the test were scarce, Ducati keeping their cards close to their chest again. What is for certain is that Stoner was aboard the 2016 Desmosedici GP, his second test on the bike having run the GP15 in Sepang. His first run on the 2016 machine in Qatar was cut short due to rain and he spent his first day in Misano cleaning the Qatar dust out of his helmet. Fortunatley ideal weather conditions allowed for two productive days near the Italian seaside.
With the Gran Premio TIM di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini taking place on the ninth to 11th of September, Stoner’s test will give the Ducati riders an idea of what to expect from the Italian track with the new Michelin tyres. Stoner's ability to still put in competitive lap times, he finished the Sepang test in ninth overall, also allowed Ducati to understand the direction they need to take with the chassis and electronics.
Casey Stoner: ”We’ve had a very positive test, this being my first time on a European track since 2012 and my first time in Misano since 2011. It’s been a long time and it’s really nice to ride these European-style tracks again and get a feel for what a bike is for basically 70 or 80 percent of the season. Everything we have done has been very positive; we got 95% of our test done over these two days so it’s been very good. We got some direction with Michelin and were able to get a bit of direction between the chassis’ and the electronics etc. I’m really looking forward to seeing what comes from this for the next stages and also what the factory riders really think of the steps we’ve been able to make.
"The next few days are going to be really interesting. I haven’t been to World Ducati Week for a long time! It’s hard to remember what it was like back then, but now I’m looking forward to the whole weekend and seeing so many fans, everyone who turns up, the amount of bikes. The 90th anniversary of Ducati is such a big celebration and I’m looking forward to being a part of it.”
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