Ducati sporting director Paolo Ciabatti has dismissed reports two-time MotoGP™ champion Casey Stoner will not renew his test rider contract beyond 2018.
Stoner, who joined Ducati as a tester and brand ambassador in 2016, has not ridden for the team since undergoing shoulder surgery in February.
Reports over the weekend suggested Stoner had already made a decision on his future, but Ciabatti said the Australian’s injury rehabilitation is the priority for both parties.
"The situation is that, when we agreed with Casey to come back to Ducati as a test rider and brand ambassador, we had a three-year deal that is expiring at the end of 2018, so we, as you may know, we met Casey during World Ducati Week at Misano and we spoke a bit about the future," Ciabatti told MotoGP™ World Feed Pit Lane reporter Simon Crafar at the Czech GP.
"He’s still recovering from the surgery to his shoulder and he still cannot really move his shoulder up more than 90 degrees, so it was quite a comprehensive surgery and he’s still rehabilitating from that.
“So we decided we would touch base again later, in September, and see what the progress is with the shoulder to see whether there are conditions to continue as it is now as a test rider and brand ambassador – or maybe only as an ambassador.
“We’ll have to see with him. I think his main concern now is to recover the use of his shoulder and arm. Once that is done we can talk about the future."