The Portuguese GP is only a handful of days away, and already the talk about the return of Casey Stoner to MotoGP racing is becoming a fervor. Absent for over a month now, Stoner’s return to the MotoGP is expected to be both anti-climatic in results, but monumental in quieting the circulating rumors.
Likely to disappoint any remaining fans, the young Australian is out of any points contention for the Championship, and isn’t expected to be on his A-game come this Sunday. Making matters worse are the clearly strained relations within the Ducati team and Stoner, as well as with title sponsor Marlboro cigarettes. Recently Maurizio Arrivabene, the most senior executive inside Philip Morris’ motorsports division stated he hopes “Stoner has the decency to apologize to the team in Portugal.”
Harsh, but expected words, Arrivabene goes on to chastise the GP rider by saying that “there are many of Ducati’s Borgo Panigale employees who wouldn’t stay at home with a stomach ache, especially in times of economic crisis.”
Stoner is reportedly already in Europe, and making his way to Estoril for the GP. With rumors flying everywhere that the Australian won’t make his resurgence back into racing at Estoril, or could be absent from Ducati in 2010, there certainly is a lot of idle speculation going on in the MotoGP paddock (fanned mostly by the Italian press). However, we haven’t seen anything that would make us believe that Casey Stoner won’t be on the grid in Estoril come Sunday morning. Time will tell, but we’re expecting a very interesting press conference after the race.