Two-time Moto GP World Champion, Casey Stoner, is to return to racing in a one-off appearance at the Suzuka 8-Hours endurance race with Honda.
The Australian retired from motorcycle racing at the end of the 2012 season but has since signed a testing contract with HRC, which was extended at the start of the year.
Rumours had been circulating for some time that Stoner was considering taking part in the famous race after he tested Honda’s Suzuka CBR1000 Fireblade package at Sepang.
Following the announcement, Stoner said: “After riding the bike a few months ago, I’ve been speaking closely with Honda about the possibility to take part in Suzuka. Its always been an event I wanted to do and something I was never able to consider when I was racing in Moto GP, due to our bust schedules, so I’m really looking forward to taking part!
“The bike is very different to a Moto GP machine, but it will be a new challenge and a chance for me to try something new and unlike what I’ve been used to in my racing to this point.”
The 29-year-old joins reigning World Supersport Champion, Michael Van Der Mark, and MFJ All Japan Road Race JSB1000 Championship rider, Takumi Takahashi, in Honda’s MuSASHi RT HARC-PRO Team.
Both riders were involved with Honda’s 2013 and 2014 Suzuka 8-Hours success and are pleased to have Stoner racing alongside them as Honda goes for its sixth successive victory.
van der Mark said: “The Suzuka 8 Hour race is such a special event for all the fans and the Japanese people and not many riders get the chance to take part, even though many would like to. I also know what an important event it is for Honda so it’s a great honour for me to be asked to race the CBR1000RR once more, and this time with Casey as our teammate!”
Takahashi added: “The Suzuka 8hr this year means a lot to me and my team since our goal is to win the Suzuka 8hr for a third successive year, and I’m even more excited to take part together with Casey.”
Stoner, who won 45 races during his GP career, will test the CBR1000RR once again on July 7-8 and then again between July 14-15.
The Suzuka 8 Hour race itself gets underway on Sunday July 26.