Honda open to Casey Stoner wild card deal in 2013

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Honda has said it would give serious consideration to offering Casey Stoner the opportunity to step out of retirement and race in at least two MotoGP rounds in 2013.

There has been speculation that Stoner could ride a factory Honda RC213V machine in a bid to extend his phenomenal winning record on home soil at Phillip Island, while also taking part in the Japanese round at the Twin Ring Motegi later this season.

Stoner is undefeated in the Australian Grand Prix since 2007 and were he to confirm a wild card entry for the Phillip Island round on October 20, it would be a huge boost for race organisers who would be instantly assured of another bumper crowd.

HRC would also be keen on having Stoner wild card in its all-important home race at the Twin Ring Motegi a week later, which was the track were Stoner clinched his first MotoGP crown with Ducati back in 2007.

The rumours surrounding Stoner’s wild card appearances in MotoGP emanated in Australia, where the double MotoGP world champion is preparing for his debut in a Red Bull-backed Triple Eight Holden in the Dunlop V8 Supercar Series, which is a feeder series to the main V8 Supercar championship.

But while HRC has said no agreement is in place with Stoner at present, should he express serious interest in making selected appearances, the Japanese factory would attempt to honour any request.

Stoner walked away from MotoGP at the end of 2012, claiming constant meddling with rules had gradually taken his away passion for racing on two wheels.

HRC said Stoner turned down the most lucrative contract in its history, with the Japanese factory willing to pay around £500,000 per race for him to race on in 2013.

Stoner has been fiercely critical of MotoGP in recent months but he has never completely closed the door on a possible return.

The Phillip Island and Motegi races don’t clash with Stoner’s V8 Supercar commitments but HRC boss Livio Suppo told MCN: “I’m not sure where this rumour has come from but in the past Casey said one day in an interview that maybe he would like to do a wild card but there is nothing done.

"It is a kind of a dream for everybody to think that maybe one day we will see him riding a bike again but at the moment nothing is done.

"Of course if Casey would like to do it then we would be more than happy but in this moment I think Casey needs to be concentrated on his new adventure in the V8 series.

"Of course this would be discussed if it were something Casey expressed an interest in. It would not be easy because to do a wild card with Casey it means you would have to do it properly. But with a rider like Casey you would try and do your best to do it.”

Stoner retired from MotoGP the end of 2012 after winning 38 premier class races for Ducati and Honda. And he remains the only rider to have been consistently competitive on Ducati’s fearsome Desmosedici.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt