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.

[Source: SportsMediaSet.it via Visordown]

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