Casey Stoner will not be returning to MotoGP any time soon. In an interview with the Italian magazine Vogue, Stoner said that he wanted to spend more time with his family and experience life outside the paddock.
There has been a constant stream of rumors that Stoner could return to MotoGP almost since the day the Australian hung up his helmet. They have grown in intensity at several points in time, most notably when Honda announced that Stoner would be working for HRC as a test rider in 2013. HRC Vice President Shuhei Nakamoto has made no secret that Honda would welcome the prodigal Australian back with open arms, and credible sources in Spain have reported that much work has been done to make a comeback possible, and to try to persuade Stoner to make a return.
News that Stoner was to attend the Austin round of MotoGP reignited a firestorm of further speculation that he could stage a comeback at some point in the future. That speculation was tempered by the fact that Stoner spent most of the weekend in Seattle, where he watched his friend Ryan Villopoto try to wrap up the 2014 Supercross title. Stoner made it to Austin on Sunday, where he paid a very low-key visit to MotoGP*, catching up with his former teammates.
If Stoner's brief trip to MotoGP was not enough to quash speculation on his return, an interview with the Italian edition of Vogue puts it beyond any doubt. Stoner made it very clear his priorities lie elsewhere. He wanted to spend more time with his family and experience life outside the paddock, he told the magazine. 'I miss some things, some sensations I felt when I was racing, but they're not enough to make me want to come back,' he said to Vogue. Among the things he missed were his team of mechanics, who followed him from Ducati to Honda. They were like his family to him, Stoner told Vogue.
If Stoner were to return, it might be in some form of managerial capacity, or helping young riders. Stoner has always pointed to the difficulties young Australian riders face when trying to break through internationally. The bodies governing Australian motorcycle racing were more of an obstacle than a help, Stoner said. He himself had been forced to leave Australia to pursue his career, moving to the UK to race where the legal age to start roadracing was 14. Stoner's point is borne out by Jack Miller: the current leader in the Moto3 standings also left Australia at a young age, and spent most of his youth racing in Spain and Germany, before entering Moto3.
* One thing Casey Stoner did while visiting Austin was sign some of Scott Jones' fabulous prints of the Australian riding. For more details on how to obtain signed prints, see Scott's website.