Casey Stoner tipped to go to V8s

NEWCASTLE motorcycle doyen Graeme Boyd said yesterday he was shocked by Casey Stoner’s decision to retire from the MotoGP circuit but predicted his long-time friend would now enjoy a successful V8 Supercar career.

Boyd, who owns a Suzuki dealership in Broadmeadow and is well-known as a race promoter, has been close to the Stoner family for years and once employed young Casey in his shop.

The reigning world champion, who spent his formative years in Kurri, announced yesterday that he would retire at the end of the season, citing family reasons.

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Asked yesterday if he was surprised by Stoner’s decision, Boyd replied: ‘‘Absolutely.

‘‘About two weeks ago in Spain, there were rumours he was going to retire and he said, ‘Until you hear it from my mouth, it ain’t happening.’

‘‘But he’s from a very tight family and obviously they like being together, and something’s made him change his mind.’’

Boyd was hopeful Stoner, who is leading the world rankings, would win his third MotoGP title and end his two-wheeled career on a high.

There is already speculation the 26-year-old will switch to driving Supercars, a move Boyd said would be a ‘‘natural progression’’.

‘‘He could have stayed in MotoGP until his mid-30s at least,’’ Boyd said.

‘‘But I guess he’s thought about it long and hard and decided this is his time.’’

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