Casey Stoner Recognised as MotoGP Legend at Phillip Island

RETIRED dual world champion Casey Stoner insists he has no desire to return to MotoGP, but admits he did consider racing in this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix as a wildcard.

Stoner on Saturday became the youngest person to be officially inducted as a MotoGP legend and revealed he had contemplated making a comeback while nutting out a deal to test ride for Honda.

But the former Kurri Kurri resident said he was enjoying his new life and was happy to be a mere spectator for Sunday’s race at Phillip Island – the event he dominated with six straight victories up until his retirement last year.

‘‘We thought about doing a wildcard at this track last year when I decided to retire and we were talking about the testing,’’ he told reporters.

‘‘But with the test schedule so late in the season, there wasn’t enough time for me – I spent too much time off a bike. We haven’t been able to test enough anyway to be half-decently competitive.

‘‘So coming here wasn’t really realistic and so we decided against it quite a long time ago.’’

The 2007 and 2011 title winner, currently driving in the V8 Supercars’ second-tier category, said the pressures he faced as a MotoGP competitor turned him off making a return to the sport.

Well, for now at least.‘‘Honestly, this is my feeling: I have no wish to return, especially at this moment. I’m happy to just watch from the sidelines.

‘‘It’s a little bit disappointing that I don’t get to race at this circuit – this is something special for me. But everything that goes along with it, unfortunately, keeps me away.

‘‘It’s a fantastic race and something that I really do wish I was sort of out there sometimes. But also, at the same time, I’m happy not have any of the pressures or stresses that I know a lot of the other riders are going through.’’

And his plans for next year?

‘‘To have the year off that this year was supposed to be,’’ he said while smiling at his wife Adriana, who was there for the induction ceremony.

‘‘We ended up a little bit too busy this year with moving back to Australia and … commitments that we had.

‘‘I think next year we’ll really take our time off then, make sure that we get enough time to ourselves and then we’ll start making our plans for the future.

‘‘We already have our ideas but with a little bit more time and a little less pressure it will be a lot easier.’’

Stoner will ride an honour lap alongside fellow Australian legends Mick Doohan and Wayne Gardner before the race on Sunday.


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