HRC Press Release: Stoner Completes Test, But Still No Interest In Wild Cards

HRC issued another press release, after the second day of testing with Casey Stoner at Motegi. On Wednesday, Stoner spent most of the day riding the 2014 version of Honda's RC213V MotoGP machine. He reiterated his assertion that he will not race this year as a wild card. Photos from the test are available on the Repsol Media website. The press release appears below:

Stoner completes full test day as weather improves in Motegi

After a frustrating first day yesterday, where Casey Stoner only managed six full laps due to bad weather, the second day of testing has been very productive. He completed 47 laps and was able to fulfil the test programme scheduled by HRC and execute all of the tasks that had been planned.

This morning, Casey tested a few small items on the 2013 RC213V and continued into the afternoon before switching onto the 2014 machine, the same as Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez tested in Aragon.

Casey Stoner 47 laps

"Thankfully today the weather improved a lot, in fact it was pretty hot, and we were able to get some good track time and work on our test programme. We had a productive day in general and thankfully the test plan wasn't too hectic, so we were able to get most of it done today, after yesterday's washout. It was great to see the team, even if there were only a few people here, and I thank Honda for all their support as ever. It felt really good to get back on the bike after 9 months and I'm happy with how the test went, but it doesn't change my mind about the wild cards - this is not something I am planning to do"

Shuhei Nakamoto HRC Executive Vice President

“Over the course of Casey's two-day test, we’ve been able to gather a vast amount of data and ideas for development. Consequently, we aim to increase our pace of development and hope that this, in turn, will lead to us winning this year's Championship. We focused exclusively on the RC213V, but in future tests, we’ll get Casey to test-ride the tentatively named MotoGP Production Racer and assist in raising its level of performance even further"


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Those are great photos that Honda took of the test. Has there ever been a more beautiful bike than that RC213V? Especially in that matt carbon finish. If only they made a production version that wasn't 200,000 euro. Something like the Aprilia RSV4 but that looked like the RC213V. They'd sell a bunch for sure, and it would be good for their brand equity.

And they would be much more reliable than D16RRs. I would buy one for sure, even if they charged Desmosedici prices and came with Showas.

I'm not sure why motorcycle manufacturers spend so much money on engineering, wind tunnel testing, etc on MotoGP bikes and then build a street bike that has little to do with the gained knowledge. Not to mention it doesn't seem very cost effective and a missed marketing opportunity. Honda has found that its important to run the RC213V exhaust with a 4 into 2 on a V 4 engin, while the CBR 1000 runs a 4 into 1 on an inline 4. Yamaha R1 with its two bug eyed air intakes and a 4 into 2 exhaust doesn't take advantage of the R&D put into the M1's centered air intake and 4 into 1. And the Suzuki bike Randy De Puniet has been testing has nothing to do with the current or future GSXR 1000.
I personally would love to be able to buy a R1 that was basically a tuned down street version of the M1. Beef up the metal thicknesses where needed, replace titainium with aluminum, carbon fiber with plastic, the high end electronics with a more standard street bike version, swap Brembo for Yamaha brakes, replace the outsorced exhaust and wheels with inhouse pipes and rims etc.
if Kawasaki and Suzuki knew that the MotoGP bike they were going to develop was the high end version of the street bike they'd be making next year that seems a much more attractive investment instead of the current situation where in addition to spending millions making a 1000cc street bike you spend millions and millions making a MotoGP bike.
And the 600cc street bikes would again be a scaled down version of the MotoGP / 1000cc bikes.
WSBK could run its series on the street bike versions. AMA would start producing more riders that would move up to WSBK & MotoGP
And factory replica bikes would be everywhere, loaded with sponsors stickers, which sponsors would love.
It would certainly beat the hell out of Yamaha changing their paint scheme and calling it a new bike.

GP bikes don't have silencers and catalytic converters or noise and emissions limitations. I doubt the data being gathered in GP would be of much use in optimizing a street legal exhaust system.

... I believe that is precisely what Suzuki intends to do with the current/in-testing/XRH-1 GP bike.

I agree with the principle and think it would help spark greater interest into sportsbikes.

"... it doesn't change my mind about the wild cards - this is not something I am planning to do"

Well, let's see ...
From 2012-05-03: "There is nothing about retirement at this point ...
coupled with:
"I am actually going to stick to my word ...

Then, just 2 weeks later on 2012-05-17:
"I will be finishing my career at the end of this season in MotoGP ..."

Not that I really care either way, but it would be foolish to believe anything this guy says.

The Telegraph
Speed TV

Why would HRC want Casey back on the bike as a wild card?? You think Nakamoto cares about attendance at P.I.? They have two guys, sitting 1,2 right now. Why throw a very fast guy i as a wild card that could take points from either Yamaha

He would also take points away from Jorge spits a moot point. The only way it would matter is if Jorge managed to win the race ahead of Stoner, but seriously anyone who's watched Phillip Island for the past 6 years knows that's a very remote possibility, and one that could be managed if it looked like it was about to happen during the race. Stoner could be told before hand he either wins or comes behind both factory RCV riders.

... you know that he actually said

"I am actually going to stick to my word, I'm going to retire when I stop enjoying racing."

... 2 weeks later he said ...

"this sport has changed a lot and it has changed to the point where I am not enjoying it. I don't have the passion for it and so at this time it's better if I retire now."

... so actually he stuck to his word. What he didn't want to do was step on anyone's toes by making an announcement before discussing it with people to whom he had responsibilities, & he was asked some tough & searching questions in that 1st interview.

Of course he wouldn't say anything about doing a wildcard this year until he had done a few tests and felt really quick on the bike. Also, he would unsettle all of the riders in the race for the championship since they would be worried about losing points/having another top rider to battle at some of the most important races of the season. But I bet if any of the Honda riders are injured for any of the Asia races, he will be there. Let's hope he doesn't get a ride for that reason though.

HOWEVER, I think it could be a real possibility that Honda will want to show off their production RCV at Philip Island/Malaysia/Japan this year. Stoner would make it look quick, and it might turn some heads.

Not to make light of your comments mate. I agree for the most part 100%. But what would be the point in HRC giving a proddy racer to Stoner for a weekend to "make it look fast"? Afterall, he's not gonna race one. Ever. IF, and it's a very big if, he did come back for even a wildcard, he'd be on a full prototype. No question.

This would be, in my opinion, HRC pulling a Ducati.."look, look at how quick the bike is" (with Stoner on it). Would serve no purpose I reckon.

"It doesn't change my mind about the wild cards - this is not something I am planning to do."

At least this confirms that the wild cards were indeed on offer from Honda.

Dont rubbish Stoner for denying his retirement and then announcing it later. Thats what has to happen until you want to announce something via a public media and be in control of the timing yourself. If you were halfway or didnt deny then you'd be agreeing and confirming the rumours (which may well be true) and then you didnt control the timing yourself anymore.
But what a waste to the sport.. and he obviously loves riding the bike. Not many that go out on top and dont look back. And I'm still not sure that he's one of them yet either.

to keep riding it,however....His absence is 100% voluntary,at least based on his statements,and only an undisclosed health problem or his families private wishes move his retirement into the forced column...His rightful choice,no question...but the only person keeping Casey Stoner from racing is Casey Stoner,and if he wanted to race,he would be out there...I wish him all the best going forward....but he is no longer racing...certainly not in he matters not to me....Where Nicky is going much more interesting to me than what Casey does on his vacation..........Going forward second half : Rossi makes a run,Jorge comes back strong,Dani pushes forward and fights for his place and MM comes down to earth(a bit anyway...) and CC does his best to lock in the memory of being on a relatively competitive bike...going to be some great for Casey,I have Eurosport player and he is welcome anytime....

I believe Stoner right now about staying retired. He was sick of dealing with the marketing (signings, commercials, meetings with sponsors), side of racing. Plus he did not believe in the direction that Motogp was taking. His biggest reason was getting some time with his family and LIFE outside of racing. All understandable. BUT, if he keeps riding these bikes, along with just how young he still is, he may get an itch that can only be scratched by racing. I do not think that will happen for some time. Don't see him coming back this year. But to me there is a possibility.

On a lighter note, it would be funny if he came back to Ducati and started winning (LOL!). I know that will not happen.... just seems like the perfect way for Stoner to take one last dump on Rossi who has mercilessly rode Stoner before Rossi himself got defeated by the Ducati.

The word is that Marquez is using Stoner's settings, so it makes sense for Honda to employ Stoner as their tester.

Whilst ever HRC benefit from it, and are happy to employ him, then I think he'll be happy to take the money and have a blast on the latest bike. But returning to racing? I don't see that happening.

I'd say if he can get regular testing slots with HRC (who should be doing everything to make it happen really), it would make him less likely to come back to MotoGP. This way, he gets to rag a MotoGP bike around a racetrack as fast as he can, which all he's ever wanted to do, without having to worry about all the bullshit that comes with actually being in MotoGP. Seems like it would be a win-win for him and Honda.

Let's not forget that Casey Stoner was in it to win. He stated many, many times his disconcern for championship position, and his total attention to winning races. This is something which testing will not satiate.

But I do agree. The ability to wrestle into submission a 1000cc RCV around a track should prove enough to keep him away considering the alternative - DORNA, the media, and a tough travel schedule.