With the announcement that Casey Stoner is moving to the factory Honda MotoGP squad for 2011, I began to think how hungry Honda must be for another World Championship. Hopes had to be high that Dani Pedrosa would deliver multiple titles to Big Red, but it hasn’t panned out. Sometimes, Pedrosa is very, very fast, but he hasn’t shown the consistency needed to win the championship, and has had more than his share of crashes and injuries since moving up from 250s.
In signing Casey Stoner, Honda certainly hopes that it has captured the most talented young rider in the paddock. Becoming World Champion the first year MotoGP switched to 800s, Stoner looked unstoppable. Talented teammates, including Marco Melandri, seemed baffled by the Ducati that Stoner could win on. He was “an alien” and a half. Last year, of course, Stoner had a rather mysterious illness, and some questions were raised about his commitment to racing. This year has been mediocre by his standards.
Maybe the switch to Honda is a change Stoner needs right now. Not known as the most skilled development rider, perhaps Honda, with its greater resources, can give Stoner a head start in setting up his machinery. Perhaps a change of factories will also give Stoner back the drive he seems to have been missing the last couple of years.
Any way you look at it, with the move by Rossi to Ducati, and the currently unstoppable Jorge Lorenzo staying at Yamaha, Stoner will add needed firepower to the Honda effort. If he can show the form he had a few years ago, and Honda gives him the right bike, Stoner might just give Lorenzo fits until Rossi sorts out the Ducati and joins the battle.