I don’t know what it is about retired motorcycle riders making comebacks this season, but apparently, it’s become quite the trend in the business. Days after Troy Bayliss successfully scored points for Ducati in the World Superbike Championship, another former world champion is once again putting his jumpsuit on for a return to racing action.

Two-time MotoGP champion Casey Stoneris returning to racing, confirming his participation for Honda’s MuSASHi RT HARC-PRO racing team in the Suzuka 8-hour endurance race. Stoner will join Michael van der Mark and Takumi Takahashi in the three-racer team as they try to clinch Honda’s sixth-straight victory at Suzuka. On paper, the MuSASHi RT HARC-PRO racing team arguably has the best three-racer line-up on the field. Obviously, Stoner’s resume speaks for itseld: two MotoGP titles, a runner-up finish at the 2005 250cc World Championship, and an impressive 5th place run at the 2004 125cc World Championship.

In addition to Stoner, the team also features van der Mark, Honda’s World Superbike racer and the reigning World Supersport Champion, and Takahashi, MFJ All Japan Road Race JSB1000 Championship racer. The trio will be competing at Suzuki using the EWC-spec Honda CBR1000RR, the same bike Stoner tested earlier this year and presumably the same bike that made him consider returning to racing.

It’ll be interesting to see how Stoner performs at the Suzuka 8 Hours, but judging by the team’s performance at the race in the past five instalments, a sixth-straight victory isn’t out of the cards.

Continue reading to read more about Casey Stoner’s return to active racing at the 8 Hours of Suzuki.

Why it matters

You know what’s so exciting about the motorcycle racing season? There are so many series out there that keeping up with all of them becomes a little confusing. There’s MotoGP, which is obviously the one I’m most interested in. But there’s also the World Superbike Championship, MotoAmerica, and the litany of endurance races spread throughout the year. One of these endurance races just got a sudden boost in attention because former two-time MotoGP champion Casey Stoner will race in it.

It’s fitting that Stoner will be making his (temporary) motorcycle racing comeback at the 8 Hours of Suzuka. Stoner himself admitted that it’s the one endurance race that he’s always wanted to participate in. But for the longest time, his schedule with MotoGP prevented him from running it.

But now that he’s got a lot of time in his hands, the timing seemed right for Stoner to finally ride in the saddle and race at the 8 Hours of Suzuka. I’m personally interested to see how he does, especially after the long lay-off he’s had since retiring from MotoGP.

The good news is that he’s joining a team that has won the event five straight times. The bad news is that there’s going to be a lot of pressure on him to contribute towards a sixth straight titles, especially because he’s teaming up with Takumi Takahashi
 Michael Van Der Mark, the two racers who helped Honda win the event the last two years.

The proverbial ball is in Casey Stoner’s hands now. Let’s see how he handles it.

Source: ABC Online

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