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2009 MotoGP Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix – Click above for high-res image gallery

According to reports streaming in from the Italian media (via Visordown.com), Australian phenom Casey Stoner is planning to switch teams from Ducati to Honda following the 2010 MotoGP season that's currently taking place. If true, that will punch a gaping hole in the Italian manufacturer's rider lineup for 2011, leaving American Nicky Hayden alone in the race paddock assuming he's back with Ducati.

We'd have to assume that Stoner would replace Dani Pedrosa (seen leading the Australian at last year's U.S. Grand Prix) atop the Repsol Honda lead bike, leaving us to wonder where the star Spanish rider might end up in '11. In any case, the leading candidates for the supposedly open Ducati seat both come from the Fiat Yamaha camp, as Jorge Lorenzo has reportedly been a potential Ducati target for the last few seasons and Valentino Rossi, last year's champion, has previously said he had an open offer from Ducati.

Then again, there's those always-persistent Rossi-to-Ferrari rumors, too. And it's important to remember that this rider movement is still firmly in the rumor stage. Regardless, with the 2010 season just barely underway, next year is already shaping up to offer a slew of intriguing story lines.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      This would be a very crazy development! It would be an odd move, as only now has Nicky been able to match the pace of Stoner on the Ducati. Previously, Stoner was the only one considered to be able to ride it. So, odd that Ducati would let go of the guy that could best ride it.... Then again, with the MotoGP bikes heading back to the 990cc engine formula, it changes everything about the bikes.

      You know Ducati wants an Italian on the team. And with Rossi being bested by Lorenzo at Yamaha, it might be a good time for Rossi to move. So it would be Nicky and Rossi back together again. That opening at Fiat Yamaha would let Spies move up.

      Stoner over to Honda would make for a mess.... who would get demoted?
      • 5 Years Ago
      WTF ! Later Stoner! I know new challenges are good for everyone .. . but you'll be sorry going from Italy to Japan ... Italian women are the best! Hayden and Rossi 2011 back again!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I don't think its to far stretched to consider that if Ben Spies does well the rest of this season he could be a candidate.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I was thinking the same thing Steven, I would love to see spies get a factory ride, I know he is capable of running with the front guys. Pedrosa is riding great this year and I would be surprised if they didn't keep him signed at honda.

        as far as rossi leaving for ducati, he would be stupid to do that, his team has done more than take care of him and why leave a team that is that good. (same thing for lorenzo).

        just my 2 cents
        • 5 Years Ago
        I think Spies will make the factory Yamaha Fiat team if either Rossi or Lorenzo go. I think Ducati is looking for a factory rider, not a satellite rider.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Rossi is a definite possibility for Duc but not for Ferrari. Rossi already said that he's not interested in the F1 ride. While Pedobot is out of a ride, Duc may still end up with him paired with the kid in two years.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I don't think Rossi will head to Ducati, more likely to be Lorenzo.
      @Steven, I hope Spies replaces one of the Yammie riders (Lorenzo) if they leave for Ducati. Rossi and Spies team mates = AWESOMENESS
      • 5 Years Ago
      I could easily see Rossi going to the Ducati team, but that would make a mess for Yamaha seeing that Fiat is there because Rossi is there. Rossi leaves and Fiat is going with him.

      I do see the Rossi/Hayden combo working well together again, especially since they were both very fond of each other and had a great working partnership.

      I do have to admit though, if Yamaha brings up Ben Spies, I might really start watching MotoGP again other than attending the USGP's. I have always loved Nicky Hayden and the feats of Valentino are unmatched by anyone I have ever seen, but to see multiple American riders out there and competitve would be a really proud day for me as an American. I can not remember another point in my lifetime where in premier international motorsports, there have been 2 Americans with legitimate chances to win at every round.
      • 5 Years Ago
      oh man this just made Motogp real interesting!

      I kinda like the Spies Edwards tandem but would def wouldnt mind rossi spies..

      or Rossi Hayden... Ill take as well
      • 5 Years Ago
      I guess this has been brewing for sometime as just recently Pedrosa has hit good form. It's possibe we could see Stoner + Pedrosa? Basically Honda pused out hayden who own their last Championship and since then they haven't been able to get things right. I guess hiring Hayden back wold have been too mch of a loss of face! (Note Hayden came from Honda's NA division and was not the pick of the Hoda GP team so all politics).
      I am surprised that Stoner would move but I guess that a large amount of money is involed.....
      This really opens up the door for Hayden's contract negotiations because he is a free agent after tis season. He's now happier on the Ducati and the team respects his development and work ethic and recent results PLUS the coming 990cc bigger bike suits Hayden's style rather mre than today's "I wanna feel like a 250cc bike" machines.

      Spies: Very interesting. If Yamaha are going to lose a rider the door opens for him in their top team. But don't forget that Suzuki had first dibs on him from AMA superbikes and they didn't wrap him up so I suspect that Spies has many choices for 2011.

      Rossi probably has many choices but needs to eriter go to F1 or think bikes period (I suspect the latter). The really big thing is who will sui the new 2011 bikes best in style for 2011 and how do the teams set themselves up best.

      Hayden is in a good seat for contract negotiations as he is riding cheaply right now. His performances relative to Stoner have put him really back on the must watch list. Rossi, Lorenzo and Spies are the next best situated and then Pedrosa (sightly behind because he has still to convince anyone that he can put together a full season for a Championship run.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Maybe he just wanted some valvesprings.