MotoGP

“I was forced to do it” – Casey Stoner opens up on failed V8 attempt

Casey Stoner opens up about his failed attempt to move into four-wheel racing, revealing he didn't want to compete in V8 Supercars when he raced in 2013

Casey Stoner has revealed how he was coerced into making a return to racing within a year of retiring from MotoGP after joining the Australian based V8 Supercar series.

The two-time MotoGP World Champion exited the sport aged just 27-years-old, citing his displeasure at performing in the limelight and a desire to spend more time with family as his reasons for curtailing his hugely successful two-wheel career.

However, within a few months he was competing again – albeit on four wheels - with a stint in the Australian domestic V8 Supercars Dunlop Super2 Series, the feeder series to the popular V8 Supercar touring car championship.

Despite significant backing from Red Bull and leading team Triple Eight Engineering it proved to be a failed sojourn, Stoner only managing a best result of eighth on the way to 18th in the overall standings. He proceeded to retire from all full-time racing competition thereafter.

Reflecting on his time in the series, Stoner says he was ‘forced’ to do it after coming to the conclusion he only wanted to have a year of testing the Holden Commodore, rather than race.

“Believe it or not I didn’t actually want to race at all in 2013,” Stoner revealed in the Rusty’s Garage podcast.

“I didn’t want to do anything, I wanted to have the whole year off to myself, just do the testing program, drive some cars to get used to them and then do the Development Series in 2014.

“But I was forced into doing it in 2013. I wasn’t ready for it. I was worn out, I was burnt out.

“I had a very, very close friend of mine James Strong pass away at the start of that year. He’d just taken over V8 Supercars as well, so a big part of why I went there is he had taken the main role there [as chairman].”

"It was a crash fest!!" - Casey Stoner

He also says his presence in the series meant it gained a much higher profile – such as live TV coverage – which added further pressure at odds with what he wanted at this stage in his career.

“They televised the championship because I was in it and knocked back all the race laps. It was nearly half the amount of race laps there were the year before, people don’t realise.

“That’s why there were so many crashes, so many Safety Cars and all that sort of thing. The guys had no time to make moves through the field.

“It just ended up a crash-fest. The whole year, I probably spent half of it behind a Safety Car. It was rather frustrating. Unfortunately, once you sign the contract to go into it, that was us, we were stuck.”

Despite retiring early, Stoner is considered one of the greatest MotoGP riders of all-time after winning the 2007 and 2011 titles with Ducati and Honda respectively. He scored 38 wins from a relatively meagre 115 starts.

He also revealed this week that he is currently suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome and has been forced to give up all sporting activity to undergo treatment.

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