Two-time MotoGP champion Casey Stoner has long since retired from MotoGP competition after winning the title in 2007 and 2011. But that doesn’t mean he’s far removed from the competition. These days, the Australian rider and MotoGP icon serves as a test rider for the Honda Repsol team and as it turns out, he’s still going to be the team’s test rider after striking a new deal for 2015.

A lot of other teams would’ve probably jumped at the chance to bring Stoner out of retirement to ride for their teams. But since Honda Repsol already fields two-time champion Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa as part of the team, Stoner’s role as a test rider for the team is likely as good as it’s going to get. Not that Stoner minds; after all, he retired on his own terms back in 2012 after winning the MotoGP title in 2011.

Having him on board as HRC’s official test driver puts HRC at a tremendous advantage. It’s not often that a team can have a two-time MotoGP world champion serve as a test driver, especially one who is still a year shy of turning 30 years old. With the new deal, Stoner is expected to resume his duties as the team’s official test driver with the sole objective of putting the new Honda RC213V prototype through its pace ahead of MotoGP’s season-opening race in Qatar on March 29, 2015.

In the short term, Stoner is expected to be hon hand for the season’s first official testing session at Sepang, Malaysia from February 4 to February 7, 2015. Reigning world champion Marquez and Pedrosa will also be there, as will the team’s other - and new - test rider, Hiroshi Toyama.

Click past the jump to read about Casey Stoner’s involvement as Honda Repsol’s test rider.

Why it matters

As if Honda Repsol doesn’t already have an ace up its hole in the name of two-time champion Marc Marquez, the team also has arguably one of the best test riders in the series today with two-time MotoGP champion Casey Stoner.

His involvement is pretty self-explanatory, but it would definitely be interesting to see how his experience as a former champion will help the team continue its unprecedented success in MotoGP.

Remember, Stoner won his second MotoGP title a recently as 2011 so it’s not like he’s already become unfamiliar with the technology of today’s bikes. Expect Honda Repsol to contend again for the title this season with Marquez and Pedrosa leading the charge.

But don’t sleep on the effects Stoner will have behind-the-scenes. The two current riders may receive all the accolades of another potentially successful season. But as far as the people who prepare the bikes for Marquez and Pedrosa are concerned, there’s probably no one as important as Stoner. After all, he’s the rider that will get final development test runs before the 2015 season starts in late March.

Press Release

Honda Racing Corporation have retained the services of two-time World Champion Casey Stoner through 2015.

The 2007 and 2011 MotoGP World Champion will test for two days in Sepang between the 29th and 31st January, prior to the first Official IRTA pre-season test.

A second test will take place towards the end of the year, but no date is confirmed at present.

Shuhei Nakamoto

HRC Executive Vice President

“First of all, Happy New Year! We are very happy to be able to start 2015 by announcing the continuation of our relationship with Casey and keep him in the Honda family. The feedback he gives HRC is invaluable and we are fortunate to have a test rider capable to push the RC213V to its limits”

Casey Stoner 27

Test Rider – MotoGP

“After having a long break from riding, it was refreshing to get back on a bike a few months ago! Now after a relaxing Christmas and New Year I’m happy to announce that I’ve been speaking to Nakamoto san and we have come to an agreement in continuing our relationship. I am currently preparing to ride in Sepang in a few weeks - which will be very different weather and humidity to Motegi - so I need to get myself fit!”

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