Honda Press Release: Casey Stoner To Test For HRC

Honda today issued a press release confirming the news yesterday that Casey Stoner is to test Honda's 2014 MotoGP machines. He will do a total of four tests at Motegi, riding both the 2014 Honda RC213V and the production racer version of the bike, to be sold to private teams. Stoner is stepping in to take the place of Honda's official test rider Kousuke Akiyoshi, who broke his thigh and suffered a bruised lung in a crash in the Japanese Superbike championship at the end of June. The press release rules out any wild card rides this season.

The HRC press release appears below:

Casey Stoner to test for HRC

Casey Stoner will climb back on a Honda RC213V, for the first time since Valencia 2012, as a test rider for Honda Racing Corporation. The two-time World Champion left the sport at the end of last year and has been linked with rumours of a wild card appearance this season but this is now out of the question. The Australian rider will do four tests in Motegi in the next few months with Honda Racing's R&D team, working on the evolution of the RC213V and also on the new production racer bike that Honda Racing will sell to selected team next year to race in MotoGP.

Casey Stoner

"It's been almost 7 months now since Valencia and I'm still happy and comfortable with the decision I made to stop racing. Sometimes I miss riding my RCV, so I am happy that HRC asked me to do some tests in Motegi this year. This will allow me to enjoy what I miss: riding a MotoGP bike! I'm looking forward to getting on the bike and see how i t has changed from last year and I'd like to thank Honda for this opportunity"

Shuhei Nakamoto - HRC Executive Vice President

"We are very pleased to have Casey back on a Honda! He knows this machine very well and I'm sure he can help our engineers and technicians with the development of the RC213V. We will also ask him to test the new production racer and give us his initial feedback to assist us in producing the best machine possible"


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if Casey will "buy" one of the production racers as a track day bike and truck it down to PI when the urge to scare the daylights out of the seagulls takes hold.

Honestly, I do think after a few laps he will start to think "I'm still the fastest rider on the planet, I'd really like to do a wild card race just to show them!" Stoner vs Marquez around PI would be a real treat to watch.

The two wildest, most spectacular, riders on the fiercest bike. It could be legendary.
Well, one can dream at least...

What is Honda really trying to say here? They want CS to help with the development of a bike he will never ride again? They have one of the best riders in the world in MM and yet they don't want his opinion over CS? I think this story is a sham. I think CS is riding to get used to it for, at a minimum, a wildcard ride. I think if he wanted to come back HRC would take him and drop Dani is a hot second. To have a team of CS and MM would be something the rest of the field would be terrified of.

Although the testing of the RCV really squashes the rumors of CS looking to get back on Big Red in 2014. No way in heck he would do that if his intentions were to get back on board the Ducati.

I think HRC really do value Marquez's input. The problem is, because of the regulations he cannot test outside the designated test dates. So what do Honda do? They get the next best thing. It makes total sense.

a test rider. Stoner, on the other hand, is said to be good at giving precise and consistent feedback to the engineers.

Add that to the fact that the GP riders are limited in the number of tests they can do (and are totally focused on winning a championship) and Honda's regular test rider is out with a broken leg and I don't think you need to make up any wild theories to explain what's happening.

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

Marquez has apparently been using Stoner's settings from 2012, so having Casey do some test/development work for them feeds straight back into providing Marquez with a more competitive bike, while overcoming the testing limitations that Marquez himself has.

If Casey is happy to do it (presumably for the right price) then more power to him.

Who says it's only one of the two?

Look at the chatter problems experienced by Honda last season: without getting into a conversation about the merits of control tyres and their ability to switch them at sensitive points in time, Honda didn't experience this problem with test riders as they are not in the same league as their contracted racers. They need data data data ... from as many (preferentially excellent) riders as possible.

Obviously they value MM's input (and DP) but they have problems with test schedules for contracted racers and they need as much data as possible.

Just to add on my previous comment on the true reason for testing... which is to practice for wildcard rides then his decision to sign a HRC contract for 2014! Marc (and Dani) already gave their opinions on the 2014 RCV! No need for any of them to test the P-Racer really since none of them will be riding it anyway so who cares. Stoner will ride all three bikes but he will do many laps on the 2013 RCV to prepare for his comeback. If HRC really wants to test... send Marc out to Motegi too for a day or so. Let Casey and Stoner have a face-off once they both are up to speed... CS27 getting usedta a RCV again and MM93 getting Motegi-track experience on a RCV. That would be a real test... then compare their lap times! I don't see any reason why HRC wouldn't have another Repsol 3-rider line-up for 2014.

There really is nothing in this announcement that fuels my hopes. Stoner has a high sensitivity for setup and is said to give very accurate feedback so his imput would be very valuable for bikes in development. Doesn't that make total sense?

Marquez's entire crew just about would have to walk out on him. And Christian Gabbarini would have to demote back to crew chief.

We can wish all we want, but Casey just found the perfect gig. Under the good graces of HRC, he gets paid to: ride a Repsol Honda, dodge the prying eyes of the fans, escape the camera, and miss out on lapped traffic/frustratingly slow riders.

I thought that Marquez ended up bringing his crew with him, and that only Gabbarini survived... but I'm probably not remembering that correctly.

Regardless, I don't believe this is a comeback test, but more of a 'get paid to have some fun' test.

Livio Suppo said that it was very important that Marquez had a seasoned MotoGP crew behind him. As such, all but on of the mechanics and the crew chief worked on Casey's bike. Gabbarini even has a "supervisory" role to Hernandez (Marquez's current crew chief).

1-Stoner is retired. He should get some T-shirts and business cards out that say so since he has to reiterate that point every time he speaks publicly. He's retired. We should all get over it.

2-Marc (or Dani) can't test outside of the official number of tests & tracks designated. Otherwise they would just ship their bikes & equipment ahead of every race, rent out the track, and get a couple days testing with the racers in ahead of every round of the championship.

4-Casey is filling in for a test rider not a contract racer. His input is valuable for all bikes they want to test. They are not building a bike around him. They are getting input from him as an "on the pace" test rider.

5-HRC can't have another 3 bike Repsol team unless they take an RCV away from LCR or Gresini. Only 4 MSMA bikes allowed.

6-I would love to see MM93 & CS27 race. Only in our dreams unfortunately.

The more this is simply Casey Stoner doing a few tests. And journo's filling column inches. (I'd like to add this is the best site for said column inches). Not gonna stop me offering my opinion on it all though.

The only thing there maybe some truth in (I think) is that Dani could be on his way outta the door end of '14. Fair enough, but that's a very long way away. And will anything change to Casey's liking between now and then? No, it won't. If it does, it'll certainly surprise me. But why would anyone want to employ a rider, no matter how good they are after they've been away for 2 years? Just makes no sense. You know what, I'm boring myself now....

I bore myself all the time with my own opinions!

I don't think Casey knows what he wants. But I'm pretty sure a few days of testing that rc213v will clear his mind. I have no doubt at all he will be racing in Japan and Philip Island though. Honda loved Casey so much because he made that bike look as good as it was. And they're all about having the best bike. That's the whole point of them being in Motogp: to show they make better bikes than anyone else.

Stoner must have thought at least once in the last few weeks: Is marquez a challenge worth retuning for? Even for one race.

Can't see Casey coming back full time though.

It's giving good enough banter now!! If he does comeback (not happening) it'll make twitter and all the bike racing sites us mob inhabit explode!! The haters will revert to type, the lovers will do exactly the same And the rest of us that just like watching a bike having it's neck wrung will stand and chuckle.

It seems to me this is all about selling bikes.

Honda is trying to make sure they can show their production racer out competes both they Yamaha and the Ducati. If that is the goal, why not put one of the fastest riders in the world on it to show what it can do. It is a win-win. If he goes fast from the start, it shows potential buyers how fast this bike is. If he struggles, obviously it is due to the fact that he has been away from racing. He just needs to match lap times on both the production racer and the RCV.

...the other factories have asked to join in his testing queue by now, as well.

With the money he makes from that, he can buy a privateer bike, take it to P.I., and embarass everyone all over again... ;-)

I pity the poor guy who's going to have to ride Honda's production racer after Stoner puts it within half a second of the real deal machine. And times are certainly going to "leak" if that is the case. If not, they're just going to mention "encouraging" or "respectable" times.

What Honda really wants is to have Stoner to post some competitive time with the production racer at Motegi (a stop and go track mainly test engine and braking performance) and then tell everyone the production racer is competitive.

Honda is going to give a super weird handling 2014 RCV prototype to Stoner. At the end of the tests the production racer lap time is then only 0.5 second slower than the 2014 RCV prototype. Then all the sudden the production racer looks super competitive.

In his head. Having left almost everyone he knew and loved at 13 years of age, he developed his thinking in a surreal world, he grew up racing. What his actually done is to leave his (racing) home!

Will he come back? Only if he makes a remarkable change in his thinking. He is already making discontented sounds about the v8s he now races. He's probably made the very real discovery that the crap that went down in Europe ALSO goes down in Aus, as it does in the US of A etc. Politics between competitors and organisers has been there since organised sport itself started. Casey needs to understand this inherent sporting fact.

Why's he testing these bikes? He loves them, he has said this many many times, he left because of politics and has made no secret of his contempt for Dornia.

Why is Honda asking him to do this? Well, we're excited as hell over the prospect of seeing the 'natural' back on these beasts, him backing it into a turn at over 200ks is simply breathtaking. This story quickly appeared on EVERY motorcycling racing website etc. Honda marketing coup at its finest.

Stoner will squeeze out the maximum potential of the prodie racer so there is no excuse to be uncompetitive on a prodie.If Stoner made the Ducati look good...

With the championship as tight as it is, would HRC really want to risk wildcarding Stoner and having him take away points from Pedrosa/Marquez? They'll feel *really* stupid if one them loses to Lorenzo after Stoner had two really good results at the expense of the two other HRC riders.

That is the point I was going to post before you beat me to it. Then it occurred to me... what if MM has already clinched the championship before PI? Would HRC allow a PI wildcard then? (Aerosmith's "Dream On" is playing in the background!) Actually, I suppose a 75 point lead going into PI is a bit of a stretch.

He'll return - or he'll stay retired. Both possibilities make sense.
He's a competitive guy - he likes the MotoGP thrills and a challenge.
Or - he's made a lot of money, and he's smart and mature enough to realize the adulation of strangers is no compensation for suffering the chronic pain of past injuries in the future.
Personally I'd enjoy seeing him take on MM, but that's just entertainment for me - it's his life on the line. Perhaps he's already sick and tired of random dudes interrupting his restaurant meals to say: "Saw you win at Philip Island, mate! Wow, man - just wow."

They should sell spectator tickets for these tests. The income would pay for the test days!

Narnia was a prettier tyrant. Back to Stoner and I stand by what I said when he announced his retirement from GP 18 months back. He won't race GP again, but will be a test rider supreme for HRC. Sort of dip the toe in the tepid water without getting burned on the occasion, much to the chagrin of the orchestral GP tyrant. God bless him. So,I guess he won't do the parade lap at PI on an old D16RR Capirex 990 replica or Panigale alongside Bayliss,but rather a demurely underpowered Fireblade. Can't blame him though. Just look at the rewards he got under Marlboro/Del Torchio supervision compared with Repsol/Nakamoto support. I guess Suppo and Gabarini understand it. Lest anyone forget he won more races for Ducati than he did for HRC during his tenure in GP.Given the stats and record books a feat probably never to be repeated...One for Marc to bury aswell.He may well sometime in the future. Really. How difficult can it be to switch from L-4 alloy beam Pneumatic to L-4 alloy beam Desmo?

Though Stoner has all but ruled himself from running at the Bathurst 1000 a week before P.I. (though I'd not be totally surprised to see that change), short of one of the HRC team having clinched the championship and the other being hors de combat, I think a wildcard at P.I. is off the radar.

However... if the proddie Honda racer is seriously good stuff, just maybe HRC could entice him to do a few 'demo' laps on it on the weekend at P.I.? I reckon Stoner might just like the chance to test the new tarmac there, since he had a hand in the re-surfacing and HRC could just about stand in the pits with order books at the ready..

Of course, it could be an unpopular distraction from the racing for the fans on the weekend, so the P.I. management might not be happy to accommodate the idea - but you know, I think that's unlikely.

This is what Stoner wanted - validation that he never recieved as a GP rider. He wants people to want him as much as people want VR46.

I don't believe Stoner ever wanted the fandamonium that Rossi gets.

What he wanted, IMO, was the recognition that he was faster than anyone else.

Yep, it's as obvious as daylight that Stoner never cared for the adulation that other riders thrive on. And equally obvious since he vacated the Ducati seat that he'd been 'bringing a knife to a gunfight', as David opined a couple of years back, ever since he threw a leg over the Ducati for the first time.

I'd say his desire to be respected as a serious motorcycle racer has been more than vindicated over the last two and a half years.

And Honda/HRC certainly understand his value to them as a brand ambassador and as a race team resource, much like the Ducati/Bayliss relationship - so I can't understand why there should be any surprise at all regarding this announcement; it was almost a fait accompli.

I'd love to see him race again, but I strongly believe that he never will.