Double MotoGP world champion Casey Stoner has what it takes to make a successful switch to the Australian V8 Supercar Championship.
That was the verdict of one of the championship's most decorated drivers, Craig Lowndes - present when Stoner drove his TeamVodafone Supercar in December.
On Thursday evening Australian Stoner made the shock announcement that he will quit MotoGP at the end of the year, by which time he will be just 27 years old.
Although Stoner insisted his interest in V8 Supercars had not influenced his retirement decision, the Repsol Honda star confirmed it would be his most likely post-MotoGP destination.
“It's something I'll definitely be interested to do in the future,” said Stoner of Australia's top national championship. “Whether I'll be fast enough or not is another thing. That will not be in the very immediate future. There are many things I'd like to do with my life.”
Reacting to the news of Stoner's retirement from grand prix racing and the potential of a future switch to V8 Supercars, Lowndes said: “I think he would be a great asset to the world of V8 Supercars, but it's really his choice.
“He has got a big year in front of him now he has made an announcement quite early on,” he added.
Lowndes then reflected on how the 35-time MotoGP race winner had adapted to four-wheels, during 90 laps around the Driving Centre at Norwell, Queensland.
“When he drove the car he was very good in a lot of areas. His focus and determination on trying to be fast was really good,” said Lowndes.
“In the slow sections of the track he was on par with Jamie [Whincup, team-mate] and I from the outset. On the high-speed sections he took a little longer to get to grips with but eventually got to that point. His feel and his ability, knowledge and what he wants from the car is very good.
“He would crossover pretty well, it's just a matter of what he wants to do.”
Lowndes confirmed Stoner already follows the sport closely.
“He is an avid follower,” said Lowndes.
“If you look at his Twitter he follows what we are doing every race weekend no matter where we are or he is around the world. He follows V8s very seriously and tells Jamie and I what he thinks is wrong with the car. He is very passionate about racing and the V8 Supercars.
“The bike guys seem to crossover pretty well. He was very determined and very focused when he drove with us. He got out at the end and was very satisfied.”