HRC’s vice-president Shuhei Nakamoto has dismissed rumours that Casey Stoner is being lined up by Honda to take the place of the injured Dani Pedrosa.
Pedrosa has been absent from the MotoGP grid since finishing sixth in the opening race of the season in Qatar, after which he underwent surgery on his forearm in a bid to solve his arm pump condition.
Hiroshi Aoyama has so far deputised for the Spaniard, but the uncertainty surrounding the length of Pedrosa’s lay-off has led to suggestions that two-time world champion Stoner could be brought back as a more competitive substitute.
But, when asked whether a Stoner comeback was a realistic possibility, Nakamoto said: “I would like to see Casey fighting for the podium, but we don’t have time to prepare the team and everything.”
“At least one test [would be necessary],” he added.
The Japanese insisted that the current plan was to persist with Aoyama should Pedrosa be unfit for the next MotoGP round at Le Mans, but didn’t rule out a return for Stoner in 2016.
“Realistically if we need him, Casey comes back next season," Nakamoto said.
“Not this season – we have no time.”
Two-time MotoGP champion Stoner tweeted in March that it would have been an “honour” to replace Pedrosa, but admitted then that he wouldn't be doing so.