Casey Stoner seems to be enjoying being back in the spotlight with Ducati.
Since signing up as a MotoGP test rider for the Italian brand, Casey has been involved with plenty of activities both on and off the track and is rapidly becoming the face of the Ducati marketing machine.
He was one of the more high profile guests at World Ducati Week where, together with Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali, he unveiled the 1299 Panigale S Anniversario.
He has also been involved in testing and promoting the Multistrada 1200 Enduro and has just spent two days on the Multistrada in Tuscany as a guest of the new Ducati riding school.
Casey’s first public involvement with the Multistrada was a test ride through the hills near the Ducati factory in Bologna.
But he stepped it up by participating in the two day DRE Enduro training course organised by Beppe Gualini, a widely experienced former Dakar rider, and now being offered by Ducati.
The programme included two days of off-road riding in one of the most beautiful and exclusive areas of Tuscany, alternating exercises and extreme-situation simulations with pleasant motorcycle excursions or more technical marked-out practice routes.
“I don’t have words to explain my weekend, it’s been awesome”, said Casey.
And once again he praised the bike – “This bike is truly exceptional, very comfortable to ride and something very special.”
But will he return to racing?
Casey has been back on bitumen this week, testing the Desmosedici at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.
Despite crashing towards the end of the test, he set the third fastest time behind Ducati factory riders Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso.
It’s the first time Casey has crashed in four years as a test rider.
He says it’s also the first time he’d actually gone and tried to push for a lap time, and the first time with a soft tyre in over four years.
Although showing he still has what it takes to be competitive, he has ruled out returning to racing …. in Austria at least.
In an interview with FOX Sports during the Austrian test he says “I honestly have no plans to race here in Austria.”
But does that mean he’ll consider other possibilities?
Ducati has entered a wild-card for the August 14 Austrian MotoGP round, but say it’s not for Casey.
At least for now it seems.