Two-time MotoGP World Champion Casey Stoner will don the riding leathers and put a leg over a Honda MotoGP bike later this year for the first time since retiring at the end of the 2012 season.
Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) confirmed Stoner’s comeback to the sport in a test rider capacity, announcing the ex-Honda and Ducati rider will work with Honda Racing’s R&D team in developing the evolution of this year’s Honda RC213V bike. The brand’s new production race bike, which will be raced by selected teams in 2014, will also be tested.
Four test rides at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan in the coming months will mark the first time the 27-year-old has ridden a top-level bike since finishing third in Valencia in 2012.
Stoner said he was happy that HRC offered the testing opportunity.
“It’s been almost seven months now since Valencia and I’m still happy and comfortable with the decision I made to stop motorcycle racing, even if sometimes I miss riding my RCV,” Stoner said.
“This will allow me to enjoy what I miss: riding a MotoGP bike.
“I can’t wait to get on the RCV to see how it has changed from last year.”
HRC executive vice president Shuhei Nakamoto said the organisation was very pleased to have Stoner back in the team.
“He knows this machine very well and I’m sure he can help our engineers and technicians with the development of the RC213V,” Nakamoto said.
Stoner has been tackling four-wheel racing with Red Bull Racing Australia since the start of 2013, landing a seat in Craig Lowndes’ 2010 Bathurst-winning Triple Eight Race Engineering-built VE Holden Commodore in the V8 Supercar Dunlop Development Series. After three rounds, Stoner sits 24th out of 36 in the drivers’ standings, with round four set to kick off this Friday in Ipswich.