Casey Stoner To Test Honda's MotoGP Bikes At Motegi, Racing Ruled Out
Motorcycle News are reporting that Casey Stoner is to test Honda's 2014 RC213V at Motegi in August. The former two-time World Champion will ride both next year's factory machine, as well as the production racer version which Honda are preparing to sell to private teams, and which Scott Redding has been linked with riding at Gresini next season.
HRC have flatly denied that the test is a prelude to a MotoGP return for the Australian, according to MCN. Stoner will not race as a wildcard in either Phillip Island or Motegi, as early rumors have suggested. According to MCN's Matthew Birt on Twitter, Casey Stoner is "still 100% happy with his decision to retire."
Rumors that Stoner was considering a return to racing have been circulating almost since he hung up his leathers at Valencia last year. Those rumors have been fueled by Stoner's statements in the press, where has expressed frustration at some aspects of racing in the Dunlop V8 Supercars feeder series. His announcement that he will not be competing in the Bathurst 1000 was interpreted as a sign he could exit the series at the end of the season, speculation fueled by the fact that he is yet to confirm his plans for 2014.
Stoner's first year back at home has got off to a bumpy start, as the Australian has been forced to spend a good deal of the year out of his native country. He had retired to spend more time at home with his family, but Australia's tax year - which runs from July to July - meant that he was still on an ex-pat tax regime, having lived in Switzerland while he finished his final year in MotoGP. To avoid tax complications, Stoner has been forced to travel to the US and elsewhere in the first half of this year, but now that the new tax year has started, he is able to return to Australia and live and work under the normal tax regime for Australian residents. Being able to spend much more of his time at home should make it easier for him to make a decision about his plans for next year.