MotoGP legend Mick Doohan says Casey Stoner retired too soon, and he also thinks Stoner will return to MotoGP.
On a weekend record low crowds watched the first victor around the famous legendary circuit who wasn’t called Casey Stoner since 2006, Stoner joined Doohan, and Wayne Gardener, on a special parade lap of legends.
Stoner who retired at the age of 27 had grown disillusioned with the sport, but the 5-time 500cc World Champion believes his compatriot retired too soon.
“It does get a little bit repetitious and there is a lot of pressure, so you’re fully immersed in the sport,” said Doohan at Phillip Island.
“So I can see why he was starting to get tired from it and I was a bit the same, but I kept pushing myself because I knew I still wanted to ride.
“These are my thoughts only, but maybe he did pull the pin a bit too early and when he stepped away he realised he still does enjoy the riding and the competition. And, Perhaps, maybe it wasn’t as bad as he thought it was.”
Speculation over a possible return for Stoner never left, and the rumours only got stronger when Stoner announced he would step away from his V8 Supercar experience after just one year, with a break from all motorsport next year.
With Dani Pedrosa only having one year left on his contract at the end of this season, and with Marquez bringing up his old mechanics, therefore leaving Stoner’s old crew without a job, rumours are Stoner is being spoken about as the man to join Marquez in the factory team in 2015.
“I believe Marquez now wants to bring in his own old mechanics off the old series he was in and place them in the factory Honda team,” continued Doohan.
“That would push a whole bunch of valuable mechanics to the side and whether Honda lets them go or retains them, I’m not sure. In the past Honda have created another team to race alongside the factory team.
“So perhaps they may encourage Casey to come back and do that next year, although I believe the more likely scenario will be 2015.”
Doohan does think it’s a “little better than a 50-50 chance” Stoner will make a highly exciting return to Grand Prix racing, he also thinks that Stoner could ride next year, should he want to, such is the natural talent Stoner posses. He did however say that should Stoner wish to make a comeback, making it beyond 2015 could prove a step too far, even for him.
“As we’ve seen with many other sportspeople at the elite level, the longer you stay away the harder it is to get back in.
“And that is because the other guys haven’t stopped. Those guys are refining their skills day in, day out, so it can be a bit harder to hop back on again. So I think Casey needs to be aware of that.”