Casey Stoner has thanked Ducati for helping transform him into a MotoGP world champion after it was confirmed today that he will quit the Bologna factory at the end of the season.
Stoner arrived at Ducati at the end of 2006 with a reputation as a prolific crasher after an impressive but error-laden rookie campaign with LCR Honda.
But Ducati gambled on the talented Australian and signed him to partner Italian Loris Capirossi for the first ever 800cc MotoGP world championship campaign in 2007.
Although he was way down Ducati’s target list after Sete Gibernau, Marco Melandri and Nicky Hayden all rejected the chance to ride the GP7, Stoner’s impact was sensational and he cruised to the world title in 2007 with ten victories.
The 24-year-old, who will join Honda in 2011, said:
“I must thank Ducati for giving me such a great opportunity to race and win with them over these past four years.. 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”
Ducati Corse General Director Filippo Preziosi said Stoner had given the Italian manufacturer unforgettable success since the beginning of 2007.
He said: “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 Ducat. The victories and emotions he gave us, rewarded all the hard work and sacrifice we made.
"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.”