Official: Casey Stoner to Leave Ducati at the End of 2010

Valentino Rossi was expected to be confirmed at Ducati for the 2011 season last weekend, during the Catalunya Grand Prix, but that never happened. However, the move is as certain as sunshine, as Casey Stoner has today announced he will leave the Italian manufacturer at the end of this season, leaving a spot wide open for the Doctor to fill starting next season.

I must thank Ducati for giving me such a great opportunity to race and win with them over these past four years,” said Stoner, who has won 20 races and made 19 pole position appearances in his 3 years and a half with Ducati so far.

They took a gamble when they signed me at the end of 2006 as I was unknown, but as we worked together we were able to win a championship, many races and challenge for the championship in the last two seasons.”

I have now decided to move on and I will have new challenges in the future and different obstacles to overcome, but I will not forget these years with Ducati and the people I have had the privilege to work so closely with. So a big thanks to Ducati and all our sponsors who we have shared success with while achieving lifelong goals,” said the Australian rider.

Stoner first joined Ducati at the end of the 2006 season, after spending his first MotoGP campaign with LCR Honda. In the very first season with the Italian team, he won the world title after a thrilling battle against Valentino Rossi. Now, after more than 3 years spent on the saddle of a Desmosedici GP bike, his most likely destination is believed to be Honda, where he will team up with Italian rider Andrea Dovizioso.

I would like to thank Casey on behalf of our fans and our sponsors, but most of all on behalf of all the people working at Ducati,” said Ducati team boss Filippo Preziosi about Stoner's contribution to the Italian team in the past few years.

In these four years together we have had a lot of great moments. Securing the 2007 MotoGP world championship title and the victory at Mugello in 2009 were moments that we will never forget. In Casey we not only found an incredibly talented rider, but also an honest and loyal guy and that's why there will always be a strong and sincere bond between us, even as a competitor.
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