Former five-time 500cc world champion Mick Doohan is unsure that fellow Australian Casey Stoner really will retire at the end of the 2012 MotoGP season.
26-year-old Stoner, the reigning double world champion and 2012 title leader, made the shock announcement on Thursday at Le Mans.
But fellow Repsol Honda rider Doohan, whose own career ended with serious injuries in the 1999 Spanish Grand Prix, believes Stoner could still be tempted to stay.
"It'll be interesting to see if he does actually retire," Doohan told Australia's Herald
newspaper. "I'll be very surprised if he doesn't get an offer from Honda or another team later in the year that he can't refuse to stay in the sport.
"I know Honda were counting on Casey to be the guy to keep them going for a few years... I don't think the bidding is over yet to keep him in the sport.
"I think he's just had enough of the sport at the moment. Hopefully, he'll just get through this period and we'll hear an announcement that he's not going to retire."
Stoner was fastest in both of Friday's free practice sessions for the French Grand Prix at Le Mans.