Casey Stoner To Wildcard At Phillip Island And Motegi For Honda In 2013?
Wherever racing paddocks assemble, rumors accumulate. The latest piece of gossip to hit the racing grapevine concerns Casey Stoner, and is emerging from the paddock he has just entered - the Australian V8 Supercars series - and revolves and the paddock he has just left, MotoGP. According to the V8 gossip*, Casey Stoner is to wildcard in at least two MotoGP races in the 2013 season, aboard a Honda RC213V.
The paddock gossip was picked up by the Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, who contacted Repsol Honda team principal Livio Suppo for confirmation. Suppo denied any knowledge of such an agreement, though he did state that Stoner would be more than welcome to race as a wildcard for Honda, should he wish to do so.
The rumors do not exist only in the V8 Supercar paddock. The rumors are also doing the rounds among those with connections to Honda in the MotoGP paddock as well. Anonymous sources suggest that Stoner has been signed to do all three flyaway races - Sepang, Phillip Island, and Motegi - as well as private testing for HRC.
The logistics of the Dunlop V8 Supercar series - the development class which Stoner must spend a year in before moving up to V8 Supercars proper - are such that it would be impossible for Stoner to compete in the Sepang race. The Dunlop V8 series is scheduled to race at Bathurst on Saturday, 12th October, the day before the MotoGP race at Sepang. Stoner would be unable to qualify, and would therefore be unable to race. However, the Phillip Island and Motegi rounds both fall on weekends with no Dunlop V8 races scheduled, clearing the way for the Australian to race. Having Stoner race at both rounds would make sense: Stoner loves Phillip Island, and would like to race there, while HRC would like to have a wildcard at the track which Honda owns.
Just how true these rumors are remains to be seen. As several internet wits have already remarked, we will only know that he intends to race as a wildcard once he publicly denies it. Given recent history - Stoner publicly denied both his retirement and his signing for the Dunlop V8 series, just days before both were announced - that would be taken as the final confirmation.