Author: Oli Rushby Pics: Matt Dunn Posted: 29 Jun 2015
Casey Stoner has refuted claims that Suzuka is the start of his return to motorcycle racing, insisting his participation in the prestigious endurance race this July will be a one-off.
It was announced in March that the twice-MotoGP World Champion would compete in the iconic Suzuka 8hr race sparking many a rumour that Stoner could eventually make a return to Grand Prix Racing.
He has flatly denied this, stating this weekend that the 2015 8 Hour will be a ‘one-off’ and not a comeback.
The Aussie retired from MotoGP in 2012 citing the politics of the championship and heavy media responsibilities as part of the reason for his decision. He initially switched to four-wheeled racing in the Australian V8 Supercars championship but quit after finding himself in the media spotlight once again.
“I was never bored of two wheels but we won’t get in to that, it’s a very long and difficult explanation,” said Stoner talking at Goodwood Festival of Speed.
“The four wheels were just a bit of fun, it was only supposed to be seven rounds, just to do something with my weekends, but it ended up getting extremely busy. I was the biggest name in the championship so we got asked to do every bit of promotional work going and it wasn’t the most fun year for me. I wanted my time off and I didn’t really get it. I went there to enjoy my racing and just ended up being a PR dream for them.
“In 2014 I had my chance to relax and for that it was probably one of the best years of my life.
“This year we’re doing the Suzuka 8hr, it’s not really a comeback but it’s a race I’ve had on my bucket list for a long time as it used to be a big part of the championships. Unfortunately it’s now lost that status as the MotoGP championship is just too busy so none of the top riders have time to do it. Honda have been asking me to do it for a while so I thought I’d have a go.
“It will certainly be a one-off. The more I think about it the more I’m worried, it’s going to be a long, hot race. It’s a physical circuit too, fantastic but very physical.”