Since Casey Stoner rocked the motor racing world last year by announcing his retirement from the pinnacle of motorcycle racing, MotoGP where he won two titles, (Ducati 2007 and Honda 2011), the rumor mill had been in overdrive, but finally Stoner’s legions of fans and the world media alike learns that the 27-year-old has made the decision to race on home turf this year where he takes to the wheel of a Red Bull Pirtek Commodore in the Dunlop Series - the V8 Supercar development category.
Stoner is expected to appear alongside the team and car, entered by Triple Eight Engineering on Wednesday February 27 in Adelaide, just two days before he makes his debut in the seven-round championship. While the spotlight will be firmly on Stoner and his upcoming task of switching to four wheels, there will of course be the questions about his decision to leave the MotoGP paddock where he was already established as one of the greats in the sport.
I have no passion for it and I think it's best that I retire now.
Stoner, never being one to mince his words, was always adamant that he hadn’t planned to stay in MotoGP indefinitely so those closest to him were not that surprised as the rest of the world when he made the announcement last year. Speaking that day before the French Rand Prix at Le Mans, Stoner said that the sport had changed, “to the point that I'm not enjoying. I have no passion for it and I think it's best that I retire now.” Fast forward to 2013 and Stoner came across a lot happier on his Twitter feed, Casey Stoner saying, “ Very happy to have a chance to race with Red Bull Racing Australia twitter account in the Dunlop Series this year. Looking forward getting on track at Clipsal!
When recent rumors started to circulate in the Australian press that he was about to sign a deal to race V8, however, Stoner moved quickly to deny saying, “Don't believe everything you read! Haven't decided what I'm doing yet, of course V8 Supercars twitter account is on the cards. Will let you know when I do!” Now that the cards are firmly on the table though, what do those within the series Stoner is about to join, make of his chances?
Stoner already impressed last year when he tested in Craig Lowndes V8 and he heavily impressed Lowndes who said at the time, “He did a really good job and is the ultimate professional it was an amazing experience to work with him. To see what he does on TV on two wheels and then see what he can actually do on four wheels is a real treat.” Whincup also liked what he saw when Stoner took to the track and said, “I think for sure Casey has something to offer V8’s.” Triple Eight’s Roland Dane heaped praise on the young Aussie when he took the V8 testing last year and said that he could, “see no reason at all,” why Stoner shouldn’t be “very competitive” in a V8 Supercar.