Just like a month ago, rain once again hampered Casey Stoner’s second test for Honda. The former two-time world champion returned to Motegi for another two-day (Wednesday and Thursday) development test.
In his last test, that was also hindered by rain on the first day, the Australian tested RC213V that Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez currently ride.
If the weather at Motegi takes a turn for the better, Stoner is scheduled to finally begin testing Honda’s new production racer, the RCV1000R, that has already been bought by Fausto Gresini for Scott Redding to debut on next season and that Cardion AB has decided to field for Karel Abraham.
HRC team manager Livio Suppo, recently re-confirmed that Stoner has no intention of making a MotoGP comeback, not even as a wildcard.
Repsol Honda’s Team Principal Livio Suppo has strongly denied any chance of Casey Stoner making a shock return to GP racing, not even as a wild card. The two-time World Champion, who retired from racing at the end of the 2012 season, has recently tested the 2014 RC213V machine in Motegi, and that was obviously enough to spark speculation that the Australian might have had second thoughts about his retirement, something that was strongly denied by Stoner himself right after the test in Japan and is confirmed once again by the Italian boss.
Suppo and Stoner have a long history together: the former was the boss in Ducati when the latter clinched his unforgettable first world title in 2007, and then he was pretty instrumental to bring him to Repsol Honda in 2011, a season that eventually saw the Australian being crowned World Champ for the second time. Speaking to AGP Podcats, Suppo basically said there’s simply no chance of Stoner coming back to MotoGP racing, not even for a wild-card entry in his home round in Phillip Island (as strongly rumored in recent weeks). He’s just the best test rider there is, and the whole thing is not going to get any further than that. According to Australia’s Daily Telegraph, here’s what Suppo said:
“For every manufacturer, to have a fast test rider is something like a dream. It’s almost impossible to find a super-fast rider to do tests. With Casey, it was a perfect situation. Since he retired, we spoke about his dream to still ride the bike sometimes. Everybody expects this means he will come back racing, but that’s not the case. “We are more than happy to have such a strong and fast rider in testing available, (and) Casey is very good at understanding the bike and giving suggestions to the engineers. Even if he enjoyed the test, that doesn’t mean he’s thinking to do a wildcard.”
When Jonathan Rea replaced Casey Stoner in 2012 at the Misano and Aragon rounds, the World Superbike rider with just three tests (Brno and Aragon) under his belt on a prototype machine he finished a very impressive 8th and 7th.
Rea has been a loyal Honda rider for almost six years in the Superbike championship, and also competed several times in the Suzuka 8 Hours and won the 2012 edition, and HRC would like repay that loyalty with a place in MotoGP according to Livio Suppo, who told MCN.com, “Jonathan has proven to be very loyal with Honda and personally I would like to see him in MotoGP because last year he did a good job and I think he deserves a chance. When we speak to teams we need to understand which kind of riders they would like to put on the bike and Jonathan is always on the list.”
Unfortunately for Rea all the plum seats in Honda are already taken (we expect that LCR and Gresini will soon officially confirm Stefan Bradl and Alvaro Bautista - now that Cal Crutchlow will be riding with Ducati in 2014), but the Northern Irishman has been linked to ride one of Honda’s new production racers, either with PBM, but it would be more likely with Fausto Gresini, who at Sachsenring confirmed that he bought one of the machines.
Before the start of the Austin GP, Stefan Bradl and Livio Suppo (HRC Team Principal) met with 200 students at the University of Texas taking part in an Engineering Lecture which deeply impressed the US students fascinated by the Honda RC213V displayed on the stage.
Bradl said, “In the first race in Qatar we demonstrated that we have the pace for a top-five result. We are not far away from the front group but unfortunately the first GP finished badly for us. After the bad experience in Qatar I am really looking forward to Austin and I presume the things will be much better there. I know the track already because I was there for the private test some weeks ago and I strongly want to repeat our speed and consistency. This race will be fun for us and for the fans. For the second time, I turned into a teacher for a group of University students yesterday and I had a good time: these guys are very intelligent and really passionate in motorbikes so I happy to be on the stage with my bike”.
According to Italy’s Gazzetta dello Sport Casey Stoner may be meditating the idea to wildcard this year in two MotoGP rounds, at Phillip Island (October 20) and at Motegi (October 27) and riding his previous bike, the Honda RC213V.
The rumor apparently originated from an important Australian businessman who has interests in the V8 Supercars championship, where Stoner will shortly be debuting in the Dunlop V8 series with Red Bull’s Australia Racing team, and the retired MotoGP champion just received his licence to compete (he was given a waiver on the usual qualifications).
Returning to the rumor, the two MotoGP race dates wouldn’t coincide with the Dunlop championship schedule, and Shuhei Nakamoto did say after Stoner’s retirement that the door was open for a eventual return, “if he ever decides to come back he will find a warm welcome waiting. I told him that’s always on offer.”
Livio Suppo Repsol Honda’s new Team Principal, was also asked about the rumor said: “It would be very nice, but at the moment not to my knowledge. Obviously if Casey wanted to, there would be no problem.”
Whether Stoner will return remains just speculation, but can anyone not imagine the Australian rider/driver returning to Phillip Island where he won for six consecutive years and blitzing the field just like Troy Bayliss did during the Valencia GP in 2006?
Besides the two riders, also present were HRC boss Shuhei Nakamoto, Livio Suppo, who has been promoted from HRC’s Communications and Marketing director to Team Principal (the same role he had in Ducati before leaving) Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta, and the riders managers Alberto Puig and Emilio Alzamora.
Despite rumors of a livery revamp, the bikes have just been tweaked a little, with much more white added to the paint job and it loses its previous dark blue, and the Repsol logo now slopes upwards towards the front - instead of downwards like last year, giving the bikes a more sleel look.
The former manager detailed some of the negotiations they had between Yamaha and Honda, and tried to clear the air once and for all and stop the speculation that reason behind the divorce was due to the fact that his former client was unaware of certain details before renewing with Yamaha, and also unaware that Honda had further upped their offer - which Lorenzo confirmed to be completely false.
Hirsch said, “We had fifteen basic points to decide whether to chose one bike or the other, and several of these were more important than the salary. Monday after the post race test at Barcelona, we went to dinner with Nakamoto [HRC Vice President] and Livio Suppo, with who we already discussed certain important points of the negotiation by email. The conversation was cordial and before they gave us an offer, I asked them if this was the best that they could offer Jorge. Nakamoto replied, “it’s better than the one we offered Stoner so he wouldn’t quit, and we are not going into a bidding war with Yamaha because it isn’t ethical nor correct between Japanese companies.” They wanted to field Marquez next to him [this was before the rookie rule was officially abolished] and we agreed to give them an answer by June 8th. Suppo told me that it was a good offer and Yamaha couldn’t equal it.
Casey Stoner’s retirement announcement shook the world and opened a whole new can of worms for the 2013 silly season. Speculation of who is going where is starting to pop up left and right. We’ve heard rumors that Ducati is taking a good hard look at Cal Crutchlow - to replace whom is left up to your imagination. MCN has a story of why Crutchlow could end up in Repsol Honda on its cover. Valentino Rossi could wind up on either a Yamaha factory bike or back to where it all began for him in MotoGP, on a Honda, with Yamaha’s Lin Jarvis and Honda’s Shuhei Nakamoto no longer counting out the Italian, something that would have been impossible for either of them to imagine just a few months ago.
Spanish website ‘AS’ has published this interview with Livio Suppo - the man behind Casey Stoner’s arrival in Honda - who now will have find a new top rider to replace his beloved Australian. Here’s the translation of the interview that we hope you’ll find interesting.
Mela Chercoles: Will you renew with Pedrosa?
Livio Suppo: “We are only beginning to talk now.”
MC: In a month, Repsol Honda has gone from holding three titles to navigating in a sea of doubts about the future, and this because of Stoner’s retirement ..
LS: I don’t see it in these terms: the immediate future is this year, with two riders who can win races and also the MotoGP world title.”
MC: Could Stoner be influenced somewhat by the fact that he will retire end of the year ?
LS: No, he wants to win another title, and other races: at Le Mans we didn’t win because Yamaha was better than Honda. Dani has had the same rear grip problems as Casey, but in the dry things would have turned out differently. ”
MC: Without Stoner, will Lorenzo will be the strongest rider on the grid in 2013?
LS : The last year seems to confirm it, but in 2010 before his Motegi accident Pedrosa was still faster than he was.
Following Italian MotoGP gossip is better than any reality show, this latest rumor comes from Sportmediaset.com (yes, always them) who is upsetting Casey Stoner fans with the idea that their champion is thinking of retiring at the end of this season.
Everyone knows that the Stoner just loves to race, but doesn’t like all the BS that surrounds the paddock nor does he always enjoy answering questions and explaining himself, and of late has hinted that he won’t be dragging out this racing career for many years, and with wife Adriana who has been his shadow over these last year’s is now at home with newborn daughter Alessandra, the Australian is starting to feel a little homesick.
Stoner’s contract with Repsol Honda expires at the end of the season and negotiations are already on the table and he has already shown and obtained everything that any rider could want and money never has really been his end game, so many are now doubting that he’ll want to continue and and when Livio Suppo (who orchestrated Stoner’s behind the scenes switch to Honda) was asked if this could be a possibility or just an assumption, Honda’s marketing manager replied, “With Casey this possibility is always realistic. If you ask me, I say that I don’t know, but it is something I’m afraid of. He thinks with his own head and knows what he wants. If he decides to stop I could even understand it, even if I have the feeling that he’ll continue. ”
Casey Stoner has signed with Honda HRC and will be riding for the Japanese manufacturer next season. This bombshell comes straight from Italian news website Sportmediaset and confirms the gossip that Livio Suppo was avidly trying to take Casey Stoner away from Ducati.
According to the Italians, Casey Stoner was not happy that Marlboro tried to sign Jorge Lorenzo last year when the Australian went on his three race sickness hiatus and that Honda has not been exactly jumping with joy with Dani Pedrosa especially after his hard and public criticisms, before his second place podium in Jerez.
Sportmediaset is also reporting that Ducati knowing that Stoner was leaving, immediately offered Valentino Rossi a two year contract with them. The two year contract also contains certain options that should appeal to the work ethics and independent attitude of the 9 times World Champion. Rossi has to the Mugello race in June to decide if he wants to ride for Borgo Panigale.
Silly season has now taken a new turn and it’s only the beginning.
Source | sportmediaset.it
Italian website gpone.com has contacted Livio Suppo, the Honda Marketing manager has denied that Stoner has already signed with the Japanese manufacturer.
The question is do we trust what Suppo’s says or is it a smokescreen to avoid in house problems with Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso?