Former MotoGP World Champion Casey Stoner says he is happy to extend his new role as Ducati development rider to include the firm's Superbike team as he predicts Chaz Davies will be a title contender for 2016.
The two-time MotoGP champion, who retired from full-time competition at the end of 2012, has revived his ties with Ducati for 2016 as part of a deal that will see him conduct development work on the firm's GP16 MotoGP machine.
However, the Australian has hinted his role could be expanded so as to help Ducati Corse recover its title-winning glory in the World Superbike Championship, five years after its last title win with Carlos Checa riding an Althea Racing prepared 1098R.
“Our main focus is MotoGP but I think down the track we will try and do a test or two with the Superbikes as well, to get a feel and see if I can give some feedback that will help,” he told the official WorldSBK.com
website. “Someone extra is always a good thing, so I will help out where I can.”
Though the Panigale R, which made its racing debut in 2013, took until 2015 to win its first WSBK race, Stoner believes last year's runner-up and close friend Davies has what it takes to clinch the title this year.
“If we go off the back of last year, Chaz was riding exceptionally well and when Giugliano was fit he was very fast. Hopefully things go well and everyone stays fit and healthy for the start.
“From what I have seen in testing, they have made steps forward from last year and this can only be a good thing to make a better shot for the title. At the end of last year Chaz was one of the most dominant, so this will make things interesting this season.”