Ducati: Stoner wasn’t fit enough to race

Ducati held talks with Casey Stoner about the two-time MotoGP champion temporarily replacing Danilo Petrucci at Pramac, but the idea was struck down as the Australian is not ready to race. 

Scans prior to the season-opener in Qatar revealed that Petrucci had dislocated one of the three metacarpals he broke during testing at Phillip Island, and he is now set to miss the next two rounds of the MotoGP season in Argentina and Austin, having pulled out of the race in Qatar. 

However, Ducati’s hopes of having Stoner replace Petrucci while he recovers failed to come to fruition as Ducati team manager Gigi Dall'Igna admitted that the 30-year-old is not fit enough to race. 

“Yes, and we've reached the conclusion that it was not sensible to face a race,” Dall'Igna told Gazzetta dello Sport. “Physically he is not able to face a race at the moment – therefore neither two consecutive races.

“He rode again on a MotoGP bike only in Malaysia, after six months without riding. Then he has also had some physical problems, he still lacks strength. It wouldn't make any sense to enter him in a race.”

However, while Dall'Igna said that Stoner will continue his role as a test rider, he hinted that the Australian could race for Ducati midway through the season. 

“Casey is a test rider, and I'm interested in him testing the bike and the new components,” he said. “Mid-way through the season, we'll see.”