Casey Stoner plays down pace despite impressive test performance

Casey Stoner doubts he would have the pace to finish on the MotoGP podium if he returned, despite starring in pre-season testing for Ducati

Casey Stoner plays down pace despite impressive test performance

The prospect of the 2007 and '11 world champion making a racing comeback has been a hot topic since Stoner left his Honda test position to rejoin Ducati in a similar role.

What was initially planned as some private running at Sepang this week ultimately encompassed two days of the official pre-season test, where Stoner went up against his rivals for the first time since retiring in 2012 and ended the week fifth fastest.

But asked by Gazetta dello Sport if he reckoned he was quick enough for a podium finish in next month's season-opening Qatar Grand Prix, Stoner replied: "Speaking honestly, probably not".

He reiterated that racing again was not on his agenda.

"People talk too much. And people say that [I might race] because I'm competitive," Stoner said.

"But I didn't retire because I wasn't [competitive] anymore.

"Maybe I wouldn't last more than five or six laps because I'm not fit...

"There are no plans to race."

Stoner played down the significance of Honda spurning him as a potential stand-in for Dani Pedrosa last year in his decision to move teams.

"Things weren't perfect before that already," he said of the Honda relationship.

"My tests did not seem to work well, they wouldn't use my capabilities.

"I wasn't there just to make some money, do a few laps and that's it. I wanted to be involved, and when there was a problem I wanted to help.

"But someone at Honda did not want this. It's as if they thought I wanted to return to racing and cause problems."

He denied that Marc Marquez himself had created tensions over Stoner's presence.

"Marc doesn't care who he races against. He likes battles, with or without me wouldn't change a thing for him," Stoner said.

"But people around him thought differently.

"It was a disappointment, I was just there to help.

"Nobody would use my information or listen to my advice."

Stoner reserved particular criticism for Honda team boss Livio Suppo, who he had also worked with in his first stint at Ducati.

"He has never understood me, because he has never listened to me," he said.

"Had he listened to me and believed me, everything would have been easy.

"I don't need to race to find the passion, I can enjoy myself with my bikes away from this."

Translation by Michele Lostia

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