Casey Stoner makes his return to MotoGP action, testing Honda’s 2014 machine at Motegi
The double world champion, who retired from MotoGP following the 2012 Valencia Grand Prix, has signed up for four test sessions with Honda to help develop next year’s factory and privateer versions of the RCV.
The plan for Tuesday had been for Stoner to re-familiarise himself with the 2013 machine in the morning and then test the new 2014 prototype in the afternoon, plus a few other test items.
Unfortunately, after just six laps the rain arrived and halted testing for the day.
“It was good to get back on the bike, if only for a few laps!” said the 27-year-old Australian. “We only managed to get one run in before the rain arrived which was a little disappointing.
“It was really nice to get that first run, it’s been nine months since I’ve been on a bike and it’s going to take me some time to get used to everything again!
“The bike and the track felt good and I hope that we can get some better testing in tomorrow with some dry track time and run some more laps.”
Cristian Gabbarini, Stoner’s crew chief at both Honda and Ducati, has also travelled to Japan for the test, which continues on Wednesday.
Honda has so far ruled out the possibility of Stoner – who has been competing in the support class of the Australian V8 Supercar championship – making a wild-card race appearance this year.
Stoner’s rookie replacement Marc Marquez currently leads the world championship by 16 points from team-mate Dani Pedrosa.