In the press conference following the 2007 Catalunya MotoGP race, Valentino Rossi (then aboard a Yamaha), who had been defeated by Casey Stoner on his Ducati, told the media that Stoner had ridden “like a God”. It wouldn’t be the last time Rossi would openly marvel at Stoner’s riding skill in the years and races to come. Stoner would ultimately win 23 MotoGP races on a Ducati.
During this era, a talented young rider named Marco Melandri was hired away from Honda by Ducati to be Stoner’s teammate in 2008. A young Melandri, you may recall, had five MotoGP wins and 19 podiums to his credit by the age of 25 (younger than Ben Spies is today). His year on the Ducati virtually destroyed Marco Melandri’s confidence, leading to his ultimate exit from MotoGP.
With his seven wins aboard a Honda this year (so far), Stoner now has a total of 30 premier class victories to his credit. Stoner has a 44 point championship lead despite a DNF caused by Valentino Rossi, no less, and a stretch of “bad races” (each of which he podiumed) caused by a nagging injury. As MotoGP fans, we are blessed to watch many all-time greats on the track together today. Stoner’s skill set currently places him above all the rest.