Two-time MotoGP champion Casey Stoner.
Two-time MotoGP champion Casey Stoner. Masanori Inagaki

Stoner rules out return to MotoGP

CASEY Stoner has responded to suggestions he reconsider his retirement from MotoGP after demonstrating in testing that he has lost none of his speed.

This year will be the fifth season since the Australian announced a shock end to his decorated MotoGP racing career, winning two world championship and 38 races across seven years in the premier class.

In the past few years he has dovetailed his retirement with a behind-the-scenes role as a gun for hire, working for Honda and Ducati as a test and development rider for their MotoGP machines.

The 31-year-old is embarking on the second year of a deal to be a brand ambassador and MotoGP test rider for Ducati - but nothing more.

"No. No race plan,” he told crash.net at Sepang when quizzed about the possibility of him racing in 2017.

The question was raised following the opening day of MotoGP testing for the year where Stoner outpaced all the regular race riders to top the timesheets.

Yamaha new boy Maverick Vinales, in particular, said he couldn't understand why Stoner retired when he was still clearly capable of riding that quickly.

"People said I was retiring just because I'd lost my speed, and that wasn't the truth,” Stoner said.

"I didn't retire because I wasn't fast enough.

"I'm not interested in going back to racing, I see you all for short periods, and we get to enjoy each other's company, and then I get to go home, so it's great!”

Stoner set his fastest time on the opening day before sitting out the second day of testing, when only Suzuki's Italian rider Andrea Iannone was able to best the Australian's 1min 59.680sec effort.

The lap is one of the quickest Stoner has ever turned at the Malaysian circuit, coming just a few hundredths shy of his 2012 pre-season effort when he became the first MotoGP rider to duck below the two-minute barrier at Sepang.

He returned to the bike for the third and final day of testing in Sepang on Wednesday.

Although it is not yet known when he will ride a Ducati MotoGP machine after that, one thing that is for certain is that we won't be seeing him on the grid in Qatar next month.



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