Stoner impresses on four wheels
By Laine Clark
15:36 AEST Fri Jul 26 2013

Days after being linked to a return to two wheels, two-time former MotoGP world champion Casey Stoner suddenly looks at home on four.

A series of test rides in Japan with his former MotoGP team Honda looms for Stoner.

But the 27-year-old still showed what he could do in a Holden in Ipswich on Friday in an impressive practice display in the V8 Supercars' second-tier category.

Stoner (one minute, 11.09 seconds) topped the timesheets in the opening Dunlop Series practice session before going faster again in the second (1:11.00) to finish with the sixth quickest lap overall on used tyres after his rivals opted for fresh rubber.

After a frustrating start to his debut Dunlop Series season, Stoner said he finally felt comfortable behind the wheel on his Holden team Red Bull Racing's home track - Queensland Raceway.

"It's a pleasant feeling to come to a track we actually know and we really enjoyed it out there," Stoner said.

"We're improving with every race and at a track we've spent a lot of time at I think we're in a position to hopefully show our true pace."

At one stage, Stoner's trademark No.27 looked set to also represent where he would finish in the Dunlop Series.

A habit of being in the wrong place at the wrong time in race bingles had ensured a frustrated Stoner was 24th in the 33-strong Dunlop Series drivers' field heading into the Ipswich round, the championship's halfway mark.

His best race finish to date is 14th.

And it seemed Stoner's debut year in the support category would also be his last after it emerged Stoner would be back on a bike next week.

He will fly to Japan for a two-day test at the Motegi circuit aboard Honda's world championship-winning RC213V, which is locked in a tense struggle with Yamaha for this year's title.

He will rejoin the team for two more sessions on August 6 and 7.

Honda have confirmed Stoner will also ride a prototype of their 2014 model in preparation for next season.

But Stoner did not look like a man with motorcycles on his mind when he kept his experienced rivals honest on Friday.

"He's starting to get a great feel for the car," Stoner's team engineer John Russell said.

"He knows the track and we all know he's a talent. He's showed good speed all year and there's no reason he can't record a reasonable result tomorrow."

The round's opening 14-lap race will be held on Saturday with two on Sunday.

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