Ducati has confirmed that Casey Stoner will no longer be part of their programme after his deal expires at the end of the 2018 MotoGP season.

Stoner re-joined Ducati in 2016 as the Italian manufacturer’s test rider along with being its brand ambassador in a three-year contract which was to end in 2018. Although the talks continued between the two for an extension but it was certain that Stoner would leave.

The two-time MotoGP champion has played a crucial role in the development of the race-winning Ducati’s Desmosedici as well as the new-for Panigale V4 and also various other bikes – whether for road or for racing.

“I want to thank Ducati for the great memories and especially the support and enthusiasm of the Ducati fans for our shared passion for racing and motorcycling, I’ll always remember this,” said Stoner, who took his first MotoGP title with Ducati in 2007.

“Over the past three years I have really enjoyed doing my job with the test team, the engineers and technicians, as we worked towards improving the Desmosedici GP package and I sincerely want to wish the team all the very best for their future endeavours.”

Ducati’s CEO, Claudio Domenicali, added: “Casey is and will always remain in the hearts of Ducatisti and it is also on their behalf that we wish to thank him for the important collaboration he has offered us over the last three years.

“His technical indications and suggestions, together with the work and the feedback of the factory riders and Michele Pirro, have helped to make the Desmosedici GP one of the most competitive bikes on the grid, and his advice for the development of our production bikes has been just as precious and useful.

“Ducati and its many fans wish to offer their sincere thanks and their best wishes to Casey and his family for a serene and happy future.” As things stands, Pirro will remain as the team’s test rider with no firm details on Stoner’s replacement.