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Stoner Could Cruise To The Title

Casey Stoner is an alien among aliens. I felt this way years ago, when Stoner was the only one who could ride the Ducati fast, when Marco Melandri came from Honda to Ducati and couldn’t even run mid-pack, when Stoner could throw out qualifying laps half a second, or even a full second, quicker than everyone else on the “unrideable” Ducati, and when Rossi barely beat him in a close battle at Laguna Seca a few years back while Stoner’s bike handled¬†atrociously and Rossi’s Yamaha appeared to be on rails by comparison (even Kevin Schwantz commented on this fact).

We all like to cut some slack to riders who change bikes. After all, it takes some getting used to. The Honda is certainly a good bike, but the guys who rode it last year should have an advantage. Casey Stoner smoked everybody in the preseason on his new Honda, and he smoked everybody in the first race on his new Honda. Stoner will only get faster on the Honda as he learns how to ride it. A scary thought, but true.

It may seem like a big “if”, but if Casey Stoner can avoid crashing this year he should cruise to the title. If Yamaha can continue to develop its bike, defending champ Jorge Lorenzo will be his biggest rival, but I suspect Stoner will reach the point where he is again on a totally different plane from the rest, qualifying in a zone all his own, and then winning races easily‚Ķ not worrying about his gap at the end, because he is cruising and saving his tires as best he can.

In my opinion, the only young rider who can approach the talent level possessed by Stoner (and yes, Stoner is still very young himself, younger than Ben Spies) is Jorge Lorenzo. These two may have some epic battles this year, particularly on those tracks that suit the Yamaha. On faster tracks, with longer straights, Lorenzo probably can’t keep in touch with the Hondas, unless Yamaha comes up with some more horsepower.

52 Comments

  1. sultanofslide says:

    iv raced my whole life and iv never raced against someone stupid enough to take someone out,hows that gonna help him?it was just good fortune that he was able to remount,otherwise what advantage is there taking out stoner and himself?duh!!!
    and also,at least rossi has a record to maintain,unlike all the other one hit wonders!look at every racer in moto gp this year excluding rossi and you will find nobody with the talent and the time to capture enough championships and race victories to surpass rossis record,he is a once in a life time deal,one of a few whos name will be synonymous with the sport for ever.every one else can poke and prod as much as they want rossi dont care,hes been there and done that,and if the last twelve years iv watched him race(venue to venue)has taught me anything,hes still got it in him to wipe his behind with whoever you might think is better than him.todays lesson,90 percent of racers will be one hit wonders,so when you come across one with such a record as rossis you know hes the real thing!!!

  2. dazoz says:

    Rossi is deperate to protect his record, obvious from his deliberate taking out of Stoner in round two. He’s an arrogant a******! The Doctor needs an ego transplant!

  3. sultanofslide says:

    yeah casey sure is a great rider,but he’ll never be a rossi!add up the numbers,wins and championships 125cc,250cc,500cc,800cc,990cc,not to mention all the bikes he’s helped develope,that honda didnt get fast on its own rossi made it fast,same with the yamaha,you think lorenzo would of had it so easy riding the yamaha that biaggi was riding?yamaha had forgoton what victory tasted like until rossi was tired of snoozing from championship to championship and decided to challenge himself further and offer himself to them,soon as rossi is done at ducati everyone will be fast on their bikes.

  4. hasty says:

    yes the last time you got all hot and bothered about Stoner and started calling him better than best (Rossi) it was just before Laguna Seca and we know what happened after that. So this year Casey has the bike and 1 win and here you are trying to hype the kid again. Okas we all know you love him and hate rossi and sport is about heroes and spectacle so bathe in your stoner love while it lasts because he is really looking good this year, maybe world championship number 2 and who knows he may even win a third sometime and when he gets to 10 then he will have passed rossi provided that rossi doesn’t return to form, sort out his bike and start winning championships again as he has done before and of course lorenzo and others just play dead etc etc

  5. The Duck says:

    Here we go again….I get sick of this.

    2006…seriously disadvantaged satellite bike..got a ‘pole’ tho and a 2nd placing.

    2007…on same bike with ‘Duc’ experience Capirossi should have come second but did’nt.

    2008…only 2 crashes, pre season shoulder op then broken scapoid.

    2009…2 or 3 crashes swapped between alumnium and carbon swingarm all season.

    2010…the always suspect Ducati handling comprimised even more by the frame.

    2011…unequivocal proof of Stoners special skill on the Duc. given Rossi’s epic fail.

    Cheers.

  6. budcar says:

    Ha ha ha, you guys…. When’s the penny gonna drop that we put something in the water down here in Aus???

    For our tiny population (relatively) we just pump out motorcycle racers like there’s no tomorrow.. and great ones!

    I’m a HUGE Rossi fan, I appreciate talent wherever it’s found, but Stoner is about to make everyone else look like they can’t ride out of sight on a dark night!

    I know Stomer’s crashed a bit but you should always remember what (I recall) Gardner said about crashing. “Give me someone slow and he’s just slow… Give me someone fast who crashes and I’ll teach him how not to crash”.

    Unless something big happens (meteor falling on track etc) Stoner’s only problem this year is gonna be passing back-markers.

    Cheers!

    • kpaul says:

      Well said!! :) Go Stoner!

    • Pete says:

      Stoner is, and has been the fastest rider since Mick Doohan kicked arse. Only bad motorcycles he’s tried to over ride have stopped him having more than the 1 title he has.

      Now he’s finally on a good bike…say bye bye. And I bet Rossi is wishing he hadn’t said “Casey, you’re not trying hard enough” last year. Strangely enough…Stoner was winning races on the Ducati (and has won more races in the 800cc era than ANYONE else). Rossi will be lucky to win one. Rossi is without doubt good…right up there. But is he really the best of all time? I don’t think so. He’s lost the title, what…three times in the last 5 years to Hayden, Stoner and Lorenzo (his own team mate no less). If those guys had been there from the start of his time in the top class…how many titles would he have? I think he won a lot of his titles because he was racing against racers not of the highest quality, and he’s ALWAYS had the best equipment. Until now. Now we’ll see the real Rossi.

  7. motobell says:

    Rossi is God but Stoner is BETTER now! I am a huge rossi fan but stoner has to be one of the most underrated riders… all the nonsense from the media about he won because he had a fast bike.. any moron know he cames the winningest rider of 800cc era despite being on a ducati, despite withdrawing from racing due to the “mystery” illness and crashing out (a good measure on his own but a lot pushing the dead front end of the desmosedici).

  8. Brian says:

    The real question in my mind is whether Rossi will even win a race this year. I’m a big Rossi fan but my prediction is that he will not score a win this year and will podium less than a handful of times.

    My further prediction is that this situation will change when they go back to 1000cc class machines in 2012 where the Duc will have an edge in ponies and corner speed will matter less than on the 800’s. A lot of if’s I know, but that’s my theory…

    • Goose says:

      Brian,

      I’m a little more optimistic about Rossi this year but I agree with your point. Given that he is still VR46 he may surprise us but I wouldn’t suggest anybody hold their breath.

      On the big bikes coming back next year, hurray. I’m pretty sick of the “oversized 250 racing” we’ve had since the 800 came in. Now, if the FIM will just get its head out of its a** and allow bigger gas tanks and ban (at least) GPS based electronics we might get back to exciting racing. Hey, it worked for F1.

      • GixxerGary says:

        I’m with you Goose, let them use the amount of fuel they need and eliminate the bike control electronics. The rider should be the master of his machine not the computer geek punching in info into his laptop. If they do away with the bike control electronics we would see the truely talented riders.

  9. Scott in the UK says:

    People just really hate Casey don’t they? Its too early to tell but the signs for him are good and he has a very good bike (as did Rossi in the first years of MotoGP or are his titles then somehow devalued – thought not!) and he’s a very fast rider. Or do people just not like Aussies?

    • Davis says:

      I live in the USA and I am a big Stoner fan. From what I can tell he seems to be a class act, especiallly for such a young guy. Also seems to be able to ride way above others when his bike is working well and will try to over-ride bike set-up to attempt to win. Yes he crashes sometimes in these situations, but he is still very young and I think maturing.

      Just my opinion.

  10. Gary says:

    If you want to read more Stoner love read Wayne Gardner’s column on Cycle News website.

  11. Goose says:

    I’m not a big Stoner fan but I can’t see how anybody who actually follows MotoGP wouldn’t say he has the best chance of being the champion at the end of 2011. The Honda has been the fastest and very likely the best overall bike for years. Now the rider who may very well be the fastest is on the fastest bike. He dominated testing all winter.

    Pedrosa will self destruct, as always, Rossi is hurt and on a bike that isn’t quite equal to the best. Lorenzo is as fast as Stoner and I’d guess he is the second most likely to be champion, especially if Yamaha finds him some power without screwing up the M1 in some other way. It will, as always, come down to luck but Stoner needs less of it than anybody racing MotoGP.

    I see Stoner running off and Lorenzo chasing him with Rossi and Redfoot getting into the mix from time to time. I hope Spies can join in as well, his improvement has been extraordinary, I hope he can keep it up.

    Goose

  12. Tom Shields says:

    Mmmmm, yummy!

  13. Jeremey says:

    I wish they would show more shots of Stoner’s wife.

  14. Johnne Lee says:

    If “The Stoner” DOES NOT completely dominate and win the title this year, he will go down in history as the biggest head case since Little John K.

    The Hondas are really, really good. Someone should be tech-ing those things post race. Too bad MGP doesn’t allow ‘claiming’.

  15. ROXX says:

    I went back and checked some stats after the race;
    after Ben Spies passed Rossi with four laps to go, he was running the fastest lap times of the race at that point.
    It’s a shame he didn’t make the earlier passes stick, and furthermore, really too bad he got off to such a bad start.

    That being said, in MotoGP, expect the un-expected.
    Like someone else here said, Stoner has had some really great opening rounds in the past.

  16. Tom Shields says:

    Lorenzo did not win on “Rossi’s bike” – in fact, it was Rossi that insisted that a firewall be raised between the two teams last season.

    • Tom Shields says:

      Sorry, I was intending to reply to Gutterslob.

      • Gutterslob says:

        Don’t get me wrong. Jorge won on his own merit, and his side of the garage got it spot on with bike setup, so full props to their ‘side’ of the wall….. but most would say the foundations for M1 he rode were mostly developed by Rossi + Burgees (and possibly a bit of Colin Edwards)

        Having the wall meant they didn’t share data/telemetry. Yamaha themselves would have looked at both their data, but most probably only took input (as in feedback from rider and engineers) from Rossi’s side of the garage. Maybe not so much in 2010 (as they probably knew Rossi was leaving before we did), but definitely from the years prior.

        P.S: I accidentally clicked on “Report” instead of “Reply” the first time round. Humble apologies.

  17. Ze says:

    i do not see like that.
    Stoner has been very strong at this track and Dani really had arm problems,
    just look at how his lap times drop, lorenzo was very close too.
    Stoner is incredibly fast, but except for his title year he always fell,
    in the 125cc, 250cc, Honda lcr and after his title how many crashes?
    So the only year he didn’t have crashes was bc he could run alone since the beginning
    of the races, other than that he always crashed.
    Also development is crucial and VR/JB are some steps above the rest, so i would not
    put them out yet.
    And there’s the mental factor, even when someone has opened a points gap it’s common that
    at the final races he relax and another one comes closer, even last year pedrosa became a threat to JL, but unluckly had a big crash caused by his bike and injury/races missed. So it’s too soon i think, i don’t see him winning so easy, imo.

  18. Agent55 says:

    And MD’s poorly disguised Stoner-lust rears its ridiculous head once again :D

  19. Bill says:

    I have heard that Honda (all of Honda) could suffer from a parts stand point due to the earthquake in Japan. I wonder if this will play a role in this season or not.

  20. GBlack says:

    Well, I’m a Hayden fan, so when it comes to contenders, obviously I can be impartial. In the race I saw, Stoner and his Honda were seriously unchallenged. It wasn’t even close. Yes, things can change very quickly in a season however, and honestly, Yamaha being down on power is one thing I would expect to see change within the next month or so. Yamaha and “down on power” has been a very rare combination lately. That said, I’m looking forward to the remainder of the season, but I fully expect a “win or crash” season for Stoner which he rides all the way to the Championship despite my personal preferences.

    As far as Hayden goes, well at least Tommy is racing hard this year.

  21. Gutterslob says:

    I’ve always classed Stoner as a top-class rider. In terms of pure talent, he’s up there with Rossi, though he’s not as tactically-minded as The Doctor and tends to get the “red mist” every now and then…. but he’s older now (so hopefully more mature) and already has a championship under his belt, so who knows.

    Always liked his style and (blatantly) honest attitude, but couldn’t really get behind him during his championship winning season, not because I doubted him but because he rode a Ducati (I don’t like Apple-like Hollywood/fashion brands).

    It’s still a big “if” this early in the season, especially judging from Qatar (where Stoner has always been quick) alone.

    I believe Lorenzo will put up a huge fight, especially if Yamaha manage to find more power. Don’t rule out Spies either, the guy’s like a cyborg. Only question mark over the Yamaha duo is their ability to develop a bike. Lorenzo won last year on Rossi’s bike, and I assume Spies’ only dev experience was with Yoshimura in AMA Superbike.

    Rossi has his shoulder to deal with, but you can never rule the man out and I expect him to win some races this year and help Ducati develop a major threat for the 2012 season. Pedrosa also has fitness problems, but his biggest problem is still Puig.

  22. Mike says:

    Did the author just start watching MotoGP this last weekend? Stoner has won the first race of the year at Qatar every year but one since 2007, only didn’t win that one because he crashed out of a commanding lead, and always looked dominating doing it. How many years since 2007 has he won the title? So based on this one result, we may as well hand him the trophy now? Ridiculous…

    Usually the content of this site is excellent, but this is a myopic piece at best.

    • Mark says:

      You might want to reread the “myopic” piece again with your classes fully cleaned of bias.

      • Washington Hogwallop says:

        Mike’s post seems fair to me.

        The Stoner bandwagon has gotten as big as an aircraft carrier. Sure, the tests and first round have gone Stoner’s way, but Lorenzo has good reason to be happy with the way things went at Qatar (though his OTT celebration for 2nd place was the usually obnoxious).

        I don’t understand the need people have to call the season early for their favorite rider. I could understand if the evidence was there for Stoner, but it isn’t yet.

        • brinskee says:

          It’s not a bandwagon. I think it’s just people observing and then voicing the obvious – that Stoner is going to have an incredible season. There is some reason to believe this:

          – He took the “unrideable” Ducati to victory in 2007, and struggled with it – but stayed in the top 4 over the following three seasons. The other bikes got better, the Ducati didn’t. (I’m a Ducati fan)

          – The Honda is a solid, stable, fast platform, and most importantly, it handles relatively well and is untouchable in the straights.

          – As he gets older and more mature, he will demonstrate his ability to not prove how much faster he is when in the lead, and be okay to lead by a comfortable, but smaller margin.

          – There are other reasons, but I’m too tired after all this fun in Dubai to think of them, but the point is, I’m a Rossi/Spies/Hayden/Edwards fan and still think Stoner is going to take the championship – and I know it’s early in the season.

          – His wife is insanely hot.

          • Washington Hogwallop says:

            The 2007 Ducati was unrideable? In 2007, Ducati cought Honda and Yamaha with their pants down, as much as it was Stoner being one of the best riders. You’re polishing the Stoner myth a little too brightly by claiming it was at a disadvantage to the Japanese bikes. The four fastest speeds at Qatar ’07 were set by the four Ducatis of the time.

            Subsequent seasons are a different story, as were Stoner’s results. But winning Qatar has been a constant in good seasons and not so good ones. Look at Jerez’s results before you play the milk money.

  23. Tom Shields says:

    Stoner is like a machine – but only when he’s in the catbird seat. When he can run out front and get into that incredible rhythm, he’s damned near impossible to beat. But he’s a bit less invincible-looking in traffic. If Yamaha and Ducati can up their game and really start mixing it up with the Hondas, I think it could turn out to be an interesting year.

  24. Gary says:

    I agree totally. The only thing likely to stop Stoner this year is Stoner. If he crashes or has a reemergence of health issues. He seemed to have total command of the gap in race 1 … could extend it or not, at will.

  25. John says:

    All it takes is one tough get-off, or a recurrence of Stoner’s mysterious illness a couple of seasons ago, for him to be completely out of the running. So I’m not confident in writing Stoner into the record books yet. But I am confident in writing Rossi out of it. He went for the cash this year instead of sticking with a bike that could be a contender.

  26. brinskee says:

    I, for one, encourage and appreciate bold predictions…

    I also think this is Stoner’s year. The bike is hot, he’s running well, he’s healthy, and if he is able to keep it from crashing, I think he’ll coast it in to victory lane more often than the rest of the back.

    I also hope Spies does well. He’s just a good racer, nevermind what most people say. He’s adaptable, smart, disciplined, and running on good equipment. If he can get his starts down, I expect to see him on the podium a few times this season.

  27. gixxr1300 says:

    I hope who ever wrote that piece of garbage didn’t get paid. But then again, with all of the love spewing from their finger tips it must has been Stoner’s girlfriend. With one race on the books, you can’t predict anything, give your head a shake!

  28. Tim says:

    Things change quickly in MotoGP. The fastest bike this week may not be by week 4. However, the Honda is so far ahead of the pack speed wise, it will be tough for anyone to catch up with that bike. I tend to agree, this is Stoner’s year. Pedrosa is too inconsistent…too much of a risk taker, so I don’t consider him a legitimate challenger.

    I believe Lorenzo is the best rider going right now, with Stoner in the top 3 or 4, but just like the year Stoner won the championship, Stoner’s bike is going to be too dominant. He’s in the right place at the right time, just like he was his championship team when the Ducati was far and away the fastest straight line bike. Stoner is a point and shoot guy. He’s never been that fast in the curves (which is why I don’t consider him the most talented rider), but he’s fast out of the curves and late on the brakes, perfectly suited to this year’s Honda.

    • Tim says:

      The second paragraph, second sentence should have stated, “…his championship year.”

      One more point, I’m a huge Rossi fan, he’s the best of all time, but he’s still having shoulder issues and is on a new bike, that doesn’t handle particularly well. He won’t be in the picture this year.

    • Davis says:

      “Stoner is a point and shoot guy.” Hmmmm… I have to offer another opinion. Coming through the 250 ranks, one has to be fast in the corners. Probably why the younger former-250 guys have been so good on the 800’s which reward high corner speed vs a point and shoot style.

      I personally can’t wait until they go back to 1000cc to see if our dirt-track-bred USA riders have an advantage. I’m a huge fan of the sport and will still enjoy this year, though.

      • Dave says:

        I on with this. At Phillip Island Stoner was drifting his bike at full lean over a crested turn (don’t know the name of it). One of the most incredible displays of riding skill I’ve seen.

      • Tim says:

        These guys are all fast in the corners, or they wouldn’t be in the premier class, but I simply meant realative to guys like Lorenzo and Rossi. Stoner’s championship year, Rossi would catch him in the curves and often pass him, but as soon as they hit a straight, Stoner went around him like he was standing still. Lorenzo is probably the smoothest rider I’ve ever seen. It’s a thing of beauty to watch him.

        But make no mistake, I didn’t mean Stoner is a slouch in the curves. This will be an interesting year. With the better handling Honda, Stoner may more than hold his own in the curves. In any event, I respect him and fully expect him to win the title this year. When they go back to 1000’s next year, that will seperate the men from the boys, and we’ll see who is truly the best rider.

  29. MotoChris says:

    Yeah, go ahead and count Rossi out after the first race of the season. jeez

    • Stinky says:

      I’m a big fan of Rossis, but he doesn’t appear to be “right”. I can’t believe he can heal and develop while he’s racing. I’m a fan of Haydens also, but it’s rather difficult over the last couple years. I wish Stoner could vodoo doll his illness to Pedrosa.

  30. John A. Kuzmenko says:

    It’s by now obvious to everyone that Stoner is the guy to beat, but those words COULD and IF are awfully big. :)
    I’m hoping for some good racing.

  31. WayneO says:

    Yeah I believe Casey certainly has talent, but unfortunately sometimes lacks confidence in himself….hopefully that confidence will grow as he becomes accustom to the Honda, being an Aussie myself I would like to see him win every race…I also ride a Ducati so I would like Nicky to run a close second!

  32. It was a dazzling performance, and appeared logical following winter testing. However, in the interest of having a season of racing worth watching, I hope it’s a bit early for such pronouncements.

  33. James says:

    Wow, quite the prediction after one race. Just remember, man makes plans, God laughs.

  34. Blah Blah says:

    What utter garbage!!