Casey Stoner plans to return to roadracing, with an appearance at this summer’s Suzuka Eight-Hour.
Stoner’s been active on the track since his retirement in 2012, but only as a tester. He’s continued to pilot Honda’s GP bikes in that capacity, but never really hinted at a comeback to the track. However, tongues started wagging when he ran the Suzuka CBR1000RR machine during the Sepang test in January.
The sight of the former world champ (2007 and 2011 MotoGP series winner) aboard the endurance racer led to speculation he’d run the bike at this summer’s Suzuka race, which is still an incredibly prestigious event in the country of Japan. Now, that gossip has been confirmed.
Stoner will be part of a three-man team racing under the Honda’s MuSASHi RT HARC-PRO banner, along with World Superbike rider Michael van der Mark and MFJ All Japan Road Race JSB1000 Championship and HRC test rider Takumi Takahashi. Honda’s won the last five consecutive Suzuka races.
The race itself occurs on July 26h this year; Stoner’s expected to test the machine further on July 7/8 and 14/15.
““After riding the bike in Sepang a few months ago, I’ve been speaking closely with Honda about the possibility to take part in Suzuka,” Stoner said in the Honda press release. “It’s always been an event I wanted to do and something I was never able to consider when I was racing in MotoGP, due to our busy schedules, so I’m really looking forward to taking part!”
“The bike is very different to a MotoGP machine, but it will be a new challenge and a chance for me to try something new and unlike what I’ve been used to in my racing to this point.”