When Casey Stoner hangs up his helmet for the last time after the Grand Prix of Valencia on Nov. 11, his crew may have their tool boxes labeled with Italian shipping labels, heading to Bologna.
British media reported that Stoner's crew, led by Italian Cristian Gabbarini, may return to Ducati next season to turn wrenches for Italian Andrea Dovizioso. Gabbarini and Co. worked with Stoner during his Ducati tenure and then moved with him to Repsol Honda in 2011.
HRC bosses apparently are trying to convince Stoner's crew to stay at Repsol Honda to ease Marc Marquez's transition from Moto2 to a MotoGP factory team. But most of Valentino Rossi's crew is expected to accompany The Doctor in his return to Yamaha, opening spots at Ducati.
Dovizioso confirmed last weekend at Brno that Ducati had started talks with Stoner's crew.
"This is one thing we have talked about, and everything is important in a factory team," Dovizioso said. "I don't know if they will be my team, and we have time to work on this.
"Who will be in the crew is really important to me, but who makes the race is not the mechanics, so we have to think about many people. We have to fix the mechanics, but what is really important is to organize with Ducati and Audi the people on the top like the engineers. This is one thing we are working on."
Gabbarini said his intention was to stay at HRC, from which he said he has received an offer. But discussions with HRC bosses were still underway. He would not comment on a possible return to Ducati.
At Laguna Seca the rumor went around that HRC had told all of Stoner's crew that they would not be re-hired for 2013 and to look for other jobs.