Honda Extend Testing Contract With Casey Stoner For 2015

Casey Stoner is to remain as a Honda test rider for another year. Today, HRC officially announced that the former world champion will undertake two tests for the factory during 2015. The first test will be at Sepang from 29th to 31st of January, four days before the official MotoGP test at the circuit. No date has been set for the second test, HRC stating only that it will be towards the end of the year, when Stoner will presumably be providing feedback on the 2016 machine.

No doubt this agreement will once again revive speculation that Stoner could return to MotoGP, but there is zero chance of that actually happening. The Australian has stated both in public and to HRC boss Shuhei Nakamoto that he does not want to race again, and has turned down an offer from HRC before. His speed and the quality of the feedback he provides means he remains an extremely valuable asset to Honda's test program.

The contents of the press release issued by Honda is shown below:

HRC renews relationship with Casey Stoner

Honda Racing Corporation have retained the services of two-time World Champion Casey Stoner through 2015.

The 2007 and 2011 MotoGP World Champion will test for two days in Sepang between the 29th and 31st January, prior to the first Official IRTA pre-season test.

A second test will take place towards the end of the year, but no date is confirmed at present.

Shuhei Nakamoto

HRC Executive Vice President

“First of all, Happy New Year! We are very happy to be able to start 2015 by announcing the continuation of our relationship with Casey and keep him in the Honda family. The feedback he gives HRC is invaluable and we are fortunate to have a test rider capable to push the RC213V to its limits”

Casey Stoner 27

Test Rider – MotoGP

“After having a long break from riding, it was refreshing to get back on a bike a few months ago! Now after a relaxing Christmas and New Year I’m happy to announce that I’ve been speaking to Nakamoto san and we have come to an agreement in continuing our relationship. I am currently preparing to ride in Sepang in a few weeks - which will be very different weather and humidity to Motegi - so I need to get myself fit!”

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I'm sure Honda knows the lap times and won't reveal them.

I wonder how close a retired champion can stay w/o regular training & practice? I think Caparossi has done well when he does safety evaluation rides.

Its a shame that Ducati didn't take advantage of Stoner's feedback over the years. Honda is spending lots of $$ to get what Ducati ignored.

Are Honda keeping Stoner under contract to make sure he doesn't sign with another manufacturer, with an eye on 2016 ? Marquez-Stoner HRC line-up ?? Probably not, but it's fun to make shit up & speculate ...

Does ANY rider have renowned testing and development skills?

Some more than others, but there's no evidence to suggest that Stoner doesn't know how to evaluate the performance of a racing motorcycle and give feedback to the team that is developing the bike.

Despite what some people might want you to think :)

The bike can't be changed much during the racing season, which covers most of each year. So, yes, when out of season it does make a lot of sense to have the next season's bike tested to its limits when Honda thinks it has it ready to race.

I am shure that Honda knows much better than we do, how fast Casey really is. We all knew that Randy dePunet is a fast rider, and then we saw Espagaro destroy his laptimes in first atempt. Even if Casey cant put tgether a race competitive laptime, he certanly pushes the bike to its true limits at some sectors. lets say at the brakes, or testing grip at max acceleration...Honda shurley thinks of 2012, when Dani and Casey felt chatter, Srefan and Sic felt nothing, as they simply could not reach the limit of the bike.

there is only a few guys who can test at such speed as Casey, but they re all racing.

I am w Cartman

A good test/development/set up rider must 1) be really really fast, as feedback is relevant to a range around their pace. 2) They need to be sensitive to the bike, focused, able to differentiate the one part of the bike from another. 3) Organized and prioritized in their understanding of pertinence, and 4) Articulate in communication w the team. Oh, and add 5) flexible and adaptable in riding style to maximize a given bikes strengths as opposed to getting stuck by its weaknesses.

Which seems least teachable and most precious? Most essential?

I would say 1)