Casey Stoner was put off deputising for Danilo Petrucci in Argentina’s MotoGP round because it would have meant using a year-old bike, reckons Andrea Dovizioso.
With Pramac Ducati rider Petrucci ruled out of racing until the hand injury sustained in Febuary’s Phillip Island fully heals, the way seemed to be clear for two-time champion Stoner to make his first Grand Prix start since hanging up his helmet at the end of 2012.
However, the Australian downplayed such speculation before Pramac revealed Ducati test rider Michele Pirro would fill in for compatriot Petrucci.
Factory Ducati rider Dovizioso thinks that having to use last year’s Desmosedici GP15 instead of the 2016 bike may have played a part in Stoner’s decision.
“I think with Casey anything can [still] happen, but in the test and after the Qatar race it was clear he didn’t want to race,” said Dovizioso.
“But also I think he couldn’t have found what he wanted in the Pramac team, because the rules say he would have to use the  Pramac bike, and there isn’t a reason to do that.”
Previously, Ducati boss Gigi Dall’Igna also suggested that concerns over Stoner’s race fitness were a barrier to the 30-year-old racing in Argentina.
“Physically, he is not ready to tackle a race, much less two successive ones,” Dall’Igna told Gazzetta dello Sport. “He only started to ride a MotoGP bike again in Malaysia [in January] after six months of not riding."
Ducati has remained coy on the subject of whether Stoner may opt to make a wild-card appearance later in the season, with a final decision to be taken after further testing.