Since signing up as a MotoGP test rider for Ducati, Casey Stoner has been involved with plenty of activities both on and off the track.
He was one of the more high profile guests at World Ducati Week where he unveiled the 1299 Panigale S Anniversario with Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali.
He has also been involved in testing and promoting the Multistrada 1200 Enduro and has just spent two days on the DRE Enduro training course being offered by Ducati.
The course is organised by Beppe Gualini, a widely experienced former Dakar rider, and 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.
“This bike is truly exceptional, very comfortable to ride and something very special.”
But will Casey return to racing?
Casey has been back on bitumen this week, testing the Desmosedici at the Red Bull Ring in Austria, and 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 on soft tyres in over four years, and the first time he’d actually gone and tried to push for a lap time.
That sparked a string of rumours about a return to competition, fueled by the fact that Ducati has entered a wild-card for the August 14 Austrian MotoGP round.
Ducati says the entry is not for Casey, and although he has shown he still has what it takes to be competitive, Casey 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?