Rumours are circulating that former MotoGP world champion Casey Stoner is set to come out of retirement to ride for Honda in this year’s Suzuka 8hr race.
Stoner has maintained a relationship with Honda since his retirement, testing their MotoGP machines, and the Endurance World Championship race is one of the most important on the calendar for the Japanese manufacturer.
In reports coming from Italian media, Stoner has apparently expressed interest in making a one-off appearance at the event in July. Leaving MotoGP due to the pressures put on him and his family, the Australian would be able to return to the race with little in the way of media commitments.
With Honda losing a number of their big hitters in recent years, in the form of past winners Jonathan Rea, Leon Haslam and Ryuichi Kiyonari, Stoner could prove to be the perfect teammate for double winner and reigning World Supersport champion Michael van der Mark, who is expected to return to the event to defend his crown.
Adding further speculation to the rumours, Stoner has already tested this year’s Suzuka CBR1000 Fireblade package, taking to Sepang on the machine at the conclusion of a recent private MotoGP development test.
The 29 year old reportedly enjoyed his first real foray into production machinery, saying afterwards: “Riding the CBR was very different, I’ve never really ridden that kind of bike, the shifting, riding position, engine power, weight characteristic etc. was quite difficult and took some getting used to.”
“After a few exits I had more of an understanding and was able to give some feedback. In general it was a lot of fun and I enjoyed being able to feel the rear of the bike step out!”