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Stoner ditches Honda for Ducati

Young Aussie gun Casey Stoner set to pair up with Capirossi

AUSSIE young gun and all-round good bloke Casey Stoner has quit his satellite LCR Honda squad and signed a big-money deal to ride for the Ducati factory team in next year's MotoGP world championship on an 800cc Desmosedici alongside multiple race winner and all-round fast lad, Capirossi.

Stoner celebrated his 21st birthday yesterday in a way that most of us dream of; by signing for the Ducati factory squad. Capirossi has been racing, almost quite literally since Stoner was in nappies. Our source close to the team indicated the deal will be worth over £1 million.

Ducati have been linked with Carlos 'Careless Chucka' Checa for the past few races of the season in what has been an interesting game of MotoGP musical chairs.

Checa is now rumoured to leave Yamaha at the end of the season and join Stoner's old squad, LCR Honda. This move leaves a ride with Yamaha, for anyone brave enough to tame Dunlops.

[iVisordown[/i] reported the first news on Shinya Nakano's switch to Minolta Honda, leaving Tamada without a ride. Now the factory Kawasaki squad are without a number one rider, could Gibernau be persuaded to take up the mantle for the big green?

Stoner's talks with Ducati increased in seriousness at a dramatic Portuguese Grand Prix on Sunday, where young Spaniard Toni Elias showed Valentino Rossi the best way to get drive onto the final straight; winning by half a tyre length. Entering the race, Nicky Hayden was the championship leader but after being skittled by team 'mate' Pedrosa on lap five, Kayden's chances of the ultimate motorcycling crown are now under serious doubt. With one race to go, we've got a fight on our hands.

More news on seat-swaps, as they happen.

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