Stoner completes four-wheel switch

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Casey Stoner has ended months of speculation about his future by finally confirming he will race a V8 Supercar in Australia in 2013.

The double MotoGP world champion, who retired after finishing third in a rain-hit Valencia race last November, will drive a Red Bull-backed Triple Eight Holden in the Dunlop Series, which is a feeder series to the main V8 Supercar championship in Australia.

Stoner, who rejected a mega money bid believed to be around £500,000 per race to stay with Repsol Honda, will use 2013 to find out how competitive he is on four wheels before deciding on his future plans for next year.

Instead of preparing for the new MotoGP season when testing resumes in Sepang next week, the 27-year-old will be concentrating on getting ready for his V8 Supercar debut on March 28 in the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide.

Stoner confirmed the deal via his Twitter feed on Saturday when he wrote: “Very happy to have a chance to race with @redbullracingAU in the Dunlop Series this year. Looking forward getting on track at Clipsal!”

He had done his best to keep his future plans a closely guarded secret in recent weeks. Rumour has been rife about his V8 Supercar move having long spoken of his desire to race in the popular series in Australia.

But as recently as one week before the official announcement, the former Ducati rider was denying his deal had been signed.

Stoner retired from MotoGP at 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.

His place in the official HRC team has gone to reigning Moto2 world champion and highly rated teenage Spaniard Marc Marquez.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt