The 35-year-old nine-time GP winner will ride a Ducati Desmosedici GP9 for the Spanish team to be run by Gelete and Pablo Nieto, the sons of 13-time World Champion Angel Nieto.
Gibernau last raced in 2006 for the Ducati Marlboro team. The multi-lingual grandson of Don Paco Bulto, the founder of Bultaco, finished the injury-riddled season in 12th place.
“I am really happy to be back in MotoGP and I’m looking forward to being competitive again,” Gibernau said. “I believe I will come back and be able to fight at the front again. It is going to be a tough challenge, but one I am really looking forward to. It is exciting to be part of this new project and I’m sure we will be capable of getting positive results in 2009.”
Gibernau’s best years were 2003 and 2004, when he finished as the MotoGP World Championship runner-up to world champion Valentino Rossi on Gresini Hondas.
This year, Gibernau was an occasional test rider for the Ducati team.
Adding Gibernau gives Ducati five bikes on the 19 rider grid, world champions Nicky Hayden and Casey Stoner on the Ducati Marlboro team, 250cc GP runner Mika Kallio and Ducati test rider Niccolo Canepa on the Alice Team, and Gibernau on the Onde 2000 team.