Casey Stoner Rules Out A Return To Grand Prix Racing
With Casey Stoner preparing to take the next step in his sporting career - the long-expected switch to racing in the Australian V8 Supercars series - the two-time MotoGP champion is facing increasing scrutiny over the exact timing of his future plans. An announcement is expected soon confirming that Stoner will be racing in the Dunlop V8 Supercar Series, the support class to the main series, with Triple Eight racing and full Red Bull backing. On Sunday, the Australian newspaper the Sunday Mail reported that Stoner had already signed to race in the series, a report which Stoner immediately denied on his Twitter feed.
The Sunday Mail story draws at length from an interview to be published in the official program for the Clipsal 500 Adelaide race to be held in March. In the cited interview, Stoner also repeated that he had no intention to return to motorcycle racing at any point, despite the extremely generous offers he had received to keep him there. "I've got no thoughts whatsoever at this time of ever even thinking of coming back to grand prix racing,'' the Sunday Mail quotes Stoner as saying.
Since his retirement, there has been consistent rumblings that Stoner may one day return to MotoGP, rumblings that are based almost entirely on hope, rather than expectation. Such talk has been fueled in part by comments made by HRC Vice President Shuhei Nakamoto, who said in a press release interview issued earlier this month "if [Casey] ever decides to come back he will find a warm welcome waiting. I told him that’s always on offer."
Despite that, and despite the rumored $15 million offered to him to stay on for another season, Stoner has been clear right from the start that he would not be making a return. After announcing his decision to retire at Le Mans, he was asked time and time again whether he would consider a return to MotoGP, and he consistently answered that he would not, "unless they start racing 750cc two-strokes" Stoner joked. In the interview with the Sunday Mail, Stoner repeated once more that he stood by his decision. "I'm not changing my mind every couple of minutes. The money doesn't interest me," Stoner said.
For a little more background on how the story came about, see this piece on the Australian website Speedcafe.com.