HRC fail to tempt Casey Stoner out of retirement

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Honda has failed with an audacious attempt to coax double MotoGP world champion Casey Stoner out of retirement.

HRC boss Shuhei Nakamoto admitted he tentatively asked the Australian about a shock return to racing when Stoner completed a two-day test on a factory RC213V prototype at the Twin Ring Motegi at the end of October.

But not surprisingly, Stoner has no plans to step out of retirement and return to racing for the first time since 2012 when he walked out on the sport aged just 27.

Stoner, who won 38 MotoGP races and world titles for Ducati and Repsol Honda, tested Bridgestone and Michelin tyres at last month’s test in Japan.

And it was there that Nakamoto broached the subject of Stoner returning to racing to take on current dominant force Marc Marquez.

Not surprisingly Stoner rejected Nakamoto’s advances, but he has not ruled out making more private testing appearances for HRC in the future.

Nakamoto said: “I asked Casey about more testing and also to see if wanted to race again. He immediately said no to racing again but for testing he smiled, so that is a maybe because he enjoyed it a lot. He was surprised that after one year without riding a bike he was fast and Casey himself enjoyed riding and he was happy. Maybe I can convince him to test again.”

When asked by MCN to clarify that he had asked Stoner to make a permanent return to racing and not just selected wild card appearances in the future, Nakamoto added: “I asked him to return full-time because there is no meaning to do wild cards. But it is not happening. Everybody has been expecting that Casey comes back but this is not going to happen and there is no meaning to discuss it further.”

Stoner retired at the end of 2012 to spend more time with his young family and after a brief spell in the Australian V8 Supercar series he decided to take a complete break from motorsport this year.

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt