Ducati calls up Stoner for first test of 2018

Two-time MotoGP world champion Casey Stoner will return to action when he tests for Ducati at the Sepang circuit later this month.

The Australian, who last rode the Italian manufacturer’s bike at Valencia in September last year, will join fellow test rider Michele Pirro in the three-day test, which takes place on January 24-26.

Although Ducati is yet to reveal its plans for the test, Stoner’s programme could include riding the 2018 bike before Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo ride it in the first official pre-season test that kicks off in Malaysia two days later.

Stoner, the MotoGP world champion with Ducati in 2007, already took part in the first test with what was then the Italian maker’s newest bike, the GP17, last year.

Yamaha will also be present at the Sepang test with Katsuyuki Nakasuga and Kohta Nozane, while Honda could field former MotoGP star Stefan Bradl alongside test riders Hiroshi Aoyama and Takumi Takahashi.

Sylvain Guintoli will ride for Suzuki, while Mika Kallio and Matteo Baiocco will be on testing duties for KTM and Aprilia respectively.