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Melandri and Stoner to ride for Ducati thru ’09
Immediately after Casey Stoner’s victory at the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix, Ducati have announced that fellow Laguna Seca podium finisher Marco Melandri (right) will join the team for the next two seasons, and that he will accompany Stoner as the Australian has put pen to paper on a two-year deal.

“World Championship leader Casey Stoner (left) has renewed his agreement with the Borgo Panigale-based factory for the 2008 and 2009 seasons, with an option for the 2010 championship,” stated an official press release.

Melandri had been scheduled to ride for Ducati this season, until his Honda satellite team manager Fausto Gresini exercised the clause in his contract to match any offer within 14 days.

Where this leaves current rider Loris Capirossi is uncertain. The veteran has been negotiating with Kawasaki and Suzuki about a possible ride next year, but has yet to announce any decision. It had been expected that Ducati would hold off on any confirmation of their line-up until the Italian’s future had been clarified, but the factory team have announced Melandri’s arrival without discarding the possibility of running Capirossi on the Desmosedici.

“Next week Loris Capirossi and his manager will meet with Ducati representatives to evaluate the possibility of preparing a third official Desmosedici MotoGP bike for the Italian rider. 

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