Hall of Fame for Aust MotoGP great Stoner

Retired MotoGP legend Casey Stoner will be inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.

The only Australian to better his MotoGP record, Mick Doohan, will welcome Stoner into the Hall of Fame – the highest honour for an Australian sportsperson.

The two-time world championship winner will feature alongside seven other inductees on Wednesday at a gala dinner at Palladium at Crown in Melbourne.

Stoner’s career spanned just six years and 115 races, but he forged himself as one of the greatest motorcycle riders to grace the track.

Retiring aged 27 in 2012, Stoner had 38 wins, 69 podiums, 39 pole positions and 29 fastest laps to his name.

He was named the 2008 Young Australian of the Year, received an Order of Australia and became the 20th MotoGP Hall of Fame legend.

Sport Australia Hall of Fame selection committee chairman Rob de Castella says Stoner is a legend of motorsport on and off the track.

“An icon of international and Australian motorsport, Casey Stoner demonstrated incredible commitment and courage from start to finish, as he embarked on his ultimately fulfilled quest of racing in MotoGP.”

The affinity for speed on two wheels began early for Stoner. Growing up in regional Queensland, his family were passionate about motorsport across the board and it was natural he would follow suit.

“It’s just a very hard thing to put down when you start riding a bike,” Stoner said.

“It’s a great feeling to ride with skill and, when you’re very comfortable on one, there’s really no better feeling out there.”

His first tasted competition aged four. Later, aged 12, on one weekend, he raced in five different categories across all seven rounds, and won 32 out of 35 races. The result was five Australian titles over the two days and, while he can’t specifically recall the feat, he admits the competitive beast inside makes it likely.

“I found I was good at racing and I really loved being competitive as well. I had that competitive edge in me,” Stoner said.

“It wasn’t just going round for the sake of enjoying it. It was always to improve and to better myself.

“Whether it was against someone else, or just myself or even against the clock, I just always had to improve. It was just always the sport that really gripped me.”

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