Casey Stoner Wraps Up Two-Day Test For HRC At Motegi

Casey Stoner has made a temporary return to MotoGP, completing two days of testing for Honda at Motegi. Over the two days of testing, Stoner focused on the 2015 version of Honda's RC213V, the Australian comparing the settings used by Repsol Honda's current riders, Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa, to see how they work with the new bike. Stoner also worked on preparing the 2015 further ahead of its debut at the Valencia test after the final race of the season. Finally, he also spent some time on the development versions of Michelin's MotoGP tires, as the French manufacturer prepares to take over as spec tire supplier from 2016 onwards. As is their custom with all testing, Honda did not release any lap times.

Stoner volunteered to do the test as compensation for the tests he was scheduled to do in 2013. Those tests were largely rained off due to poor weather in Japan, and Stoner felt he still owed HRC some testing. With better weather conditions at Motegi for this test, the Australian was able to make good on his debt to Honda. According to MCN's Matt Birt, HRC boss Shuhei Nakamoto is keen to retain Stoner as a test rider, but agreement is yet to be reached. 

Stoner's return to testing will inevitably fuel speculation that he may return to racing at some point in the future. However, the chances of that happening appear to be zero. Those who know Stoner personally report that he is entirely happy in his retirement, dividing his time between his family, fishing and racing RC cars. Stoner's posts on various social media networks confirm the impression that the Australian is enjoying having a normal family life, and watching his daughter grow up.

After the test, HRC issued a press release complete with photographs, which appears below:

Casey Stoner completes two-day test in Motegi

Two-time MotoGP World Champion, Casey Stoner, has finished his two day test in Japan with Honda Racing Corporation – the first time back on a MotoGP machine since October last year.

Yesterday morning, Casey took to the 4.801km circuit located amongst the vast natural beauty of the northern Kanto district and scene of Honda’s recent 2014 World Championship clinching race, just a few weeks ago. The weather was kind and the intense testing programme reached it’s conclusion this afternoon after a full two days. Casey spent time testing the 2015 Honda RC213V machine on the current specification Bridgestone tyres testing various items including engine development and different setups. He also spent time on the 2016 Michelin tyres.

Casey Stoner

“It took some time to get used to riding the bike again after a year off it! But everything felt good, I got back into the swing of things pretty quickly and we just got on with the testing programme HRC had planned. Day one went pretty well, testing both Marc and Dani’s setups on the 2015 prototype machines and analysing these side by side we found some interesting differences and useful data. We also did some engine development and some other new items Honda brought for this test. Then today we spent some time on the Michelin tyres for 2016. All in all it was very positive two-day test and we completed a lot of laps.”

Photos courtesy of Aki Kusudo

Back to top


+ 1.

Also it gives those of us who are (now) used to having no real obsession to watch Moto GP our free and flexible weekends !

For me, 2007 - 2012, all race weekends were " booked "............

But part of me wonders if this is Stoner keeping the door ajar.. He definitely doesn't rule out coming back in his book. In the end he has to want to compete and go to war again, putting everything on the line to win. Dunno if I would do that in his position.

I wonder, are they not allowed to release pics of the RCV shod with Michs because of the current Bridgestone agreement?

That's corrrect. There was a very tricky set of negotiations necessary to allow the testing to take place. Technically, MotoGP riders are not allowed to use any other brand of tires on track, so there were contractual issues. Both Michelin and Bridgestone are trying to handle this as carefully as possible.

Fanboys will be fanboys I guess, but despite the fact that I recognise how good a rider Casey was, I feel the championship is far better off without him. It was a hard slog watching the race winner show very little emotion unless making some sort of complaint. Marquez in for Stoner? No contest for me. Sure, there are other factors, but anyone who thinks the racing was better in 2012 than the last two years has been watching a different broadcast to me

not sure if I agree, Casey had a rep for showing little emotion especially in the Ducati days, but his first year with Honda the guy was all smiles, practically beaming (in fact, I was getting mad at David for every time the words "chesire cat" followed the words "Casey Stoner"! haha) Could you imagine if Casey was back now that Rossi is back with Yamaha!? The sparks would be flying!!! I don't believe the series is better without him. How could any series be better when one of the most talented people leaves early?


Geez - all this griping about his press conference skills. He was a motorcycle racer, not a corporate spokesperson.
Haven't you ever seen New England Patriot coach Bill Bellichick's deadpan post-game sparring with the NFL press hacks? Stoner came across like a cherub compared to the 'grey-hooded one'. Personally I'd sooner see a genuine response - grouchy or not - rather than meaningless smooth patter which is the standard post-race fare: " I got a good/bad start. The bike handled well/poorly. The tires held up/lost grip. I'd like to thank umbrella girl Masaki/Mary Sue for all her hard work."
Whatever - each to his own, I guess.

Stoner was a corporate spokesman.

Grouchiness is one thing. Acting like my caring about his performance as a professional motorcycle racer is the stupidest thing he's ever had to deal with is another.

It doesn't have to be a choice between "I'd like to thank..." or "Piss off, ya wankers." There's a bunch of middle ground.

Let's be accurate here - he was a professional bike racer contractually forced into the role of corporate spokesman.
Nothing of value is ever revealed at these events. He was an artist - his paint was the bike and his canvas was the track. If you care about his performance, rewind the tape and watch him practice his craft.
These days I never bother to watch the post-race babble-fest. I feel like I've heard it all before, but I'd rather like to see that 'Piss off, ya wankers" press conference. It sounds refreshingly honest.

Macka, You are right, fanboys will be fanboys - but I'm biased having known Casey since he was 14 and watched him get where he got. Personality wise, his public persona is not to everyone's taste, but, imagine if you will how Yamaha and Suzuki must feel with Honda having him a test rider! The former has the odd Japanese Champion who makes up the numbers when allowed a wild card and the later, a retired Frenchman who was never right at the sharp end in a championship. Marquez must love it!

Thon boy can ride a bike alright.

Any confirmation on when the other factories can get their hands on Michelins....or has this already happened and I don't know about it?

Surely not Honda getting special treatment....that would never happen!

Colin Edwards has already tested the Yamaha with Michelin, and Michele Pirro has lapped on the Ducati with Michelin. The difference is, those two factories didn't issue press releases.

in those Spencer-esque leathers. Kinda nice without all the logos.

if you disregard all the Alpinestar and HRC branding, of course.

Whether you like Casey Stoner or not, I can't imagine any fan of MotoGP or motorcycle racing in general wouldn't LOVE to see a rejuvenated Rossi, Marquez, Lorenzo and Stoner all going at it. THAT. WOULD. BE. EPIC.

Or Casey developing the Ducati, wildcards next season, and back at it for 2016 when so much is up in the air that the return just HAS to happen.

That'd sort the men from the boys.

Seeing riders sliding vicious 2-strokes was always fun.

What I perceive to be Stoner's selfishness deprived us MotoGP fans of what might have been the most incredible motorcycle roadracing the universe has yet seen. Hmmph. Yeah, yeah, yeah, it's only my own selfishness that can even justify being angry at such a thing. That's the nature of professional entertainment: if the world cares, it matters.

Which is why it was a continual slap in the face to anyone who cared--i.e. anyone who paid his salary by putting eyeballs on his sponsor's logos--that Stoner was so recalcitrant when he raced. And such a final whack when he suddenly took his millions--our millions, since he'd never have gotten them without us--and went home.

That Casey Stoner could turn the fastest lap times when it counted wouldn't have made a bit of difference if the world hadn't cared. You don't get the cash simply because you're fast. You get the cash because it's perceived by some that the world cares that you're fast.

It'd be so cool to watch five aliens plus Dovizioso and The Een One, Smith, Crutchlow, the Escargot brothers, Hernandez, Redding, and Bradl. Not to mention the new ones next year.

In the final analysis, Stoner paid his dues and we pretty much got what we bargained for. Still, if only....

It kills me to not be able to see lap times!

You think they remembered to change the fender sticker when they threw the Michelin hoops on? :-D

Hindsight being what it is, you sometimes miss the true talent that Casey brought to the racetrack.

That being said, I would be curious to get opinions here on which races of his career are the ones worth re-watching. Which ones show him doing the impossible, doing the improbable and doing the holy crap, did he just do that? Not just the ones where he disappears into the distance, but the ones that show him battling, challenging, overcoming.

Thanks MM fans!

really any of the Phillip Island races from any of the years, my favs are the Ducati years though :)
Personally, even though his results weren't the best of his career, the later Ducati years are my fav because in retrospect we now know just how impossibly difficult the thing was to ride. And you can really see it. Rewatching the '07 '08 '09 seasons is a blast!
Oh! I can't remember the year but when he won at Mugello with Ducati, that was pretty special too
The races right when he came back from sickness are also great, there were so many questions swirling about if he still had it, or had the passion, i my self wondered. He proved everyone wrong very quickly! Then a few years later I guess he proved them right haha

Excellent choice - and the first five bikes across the line were Ducati, Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki and Kawasaki.
A golden age of racing - our grand-kids will never believe it.

This might seem like an odd choice given Stoner lost that race and is generally considered to have been outraced by Rossi. But with hindsight its pretty incredible that Stoner was even at the pointy end at all on that bike, and if you can forget the rest of the malarky its incredible to see him taking it to the most dominant racer of modern times riding the Yamaha which was the best bike of the time. Stoner was pretty special at Laguna and it really was an epic encounter, made possible only by Stoners talent.

There was a few great rides at Laguna, but Id also watch any race of Stoner at Assen or Phillip Island, he put in some amazing rides at Catalunya, and he was incredible to watch on the Ducati at Sachsenring. He didnt always win there but watching wrestling the understeering Ducati at the tightest rack on the calendar was spectacular.

Stoner, Mladin, Doohan, and now Miller--bunch of sourpusses who take themselves way too seriously. Guess I just prefer racers who understand the occasional self-depracating smile, like Bayliss, Rossi, even Crutchlow and Edwards.

That said, I, too, wish Stoner were still racing. Love to see Rossi and Marquez beating him.

He seems good at getting some time on the bike while having control over the details. More power to him. The personal/personality attacks from the peanut gallery that ensue when some of us devolve around Stoner vs Rossi, Stoner's illness, his handling of the press, or choosing to leave the circus is something I am glad to have to swipe past less and less. Same goes for the Crutchlow criticisms in that regard. Particularly because Stoner and Crutchlow both have less differentiation of "person" and "public personae." Me? I call this INTEGRITY.

Now if we are dabbling in the momentary dreaming, I put Casey on immediate development duties of a RED bike, with 2015 wildcards of and....

I am glued to news on the Michelins like 1960's wallpaper. Say something somebody please.

Unwillingness to perform sponsor duties = integrity.

Was Stoner's "private personae" as dour as his "public" one? Or was he a happy, fun-loving guy at home and just Mr Frownyface at work? And how is either proof of integrity?

Stoner had no more nor less integrity than any other rider. He just wasn't as happy. For some reason.

Look closely at pics 2 and 4. That's not the look of a man hell-bent on making a comeback. Except for seconds.

Which is too bad, because whatever you say about his attitude, and I don't think the viewing public knows jack all about it, really, the man could flat out fly on a motorcycle. We'd have a real "fast five" if he was running today, if you want to put Pedrosa in with the rest.

Can't you Stoner Fanbois and Stoner Haters just put the handbags away?

Even a mere tangential reference to Stoner and you guys are swinging for blood.

Then an article that's partially about Stoner and it's Handbag Death Match.

Please give it a rest.

Casey Stoner is retired. There is no need to rehash old arguments from the past and sling insults (even insults disguised as praise) back and forth about a rider good enough to win a MotoGP championship.

I am closing comments on this article, because I don't have the time or energy to spend moderating it. That, I acknowledge, is my fault. My apologies to all those of you who wished to make a positive contribution.