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Stoner Wanted to Replace Pedrosa, But Honda Said No

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Admittedly, our April Fools’ Day post was a bit obscure … turns out too obscure. You see, we expected it to be true. Part of it is true (Stoner is racing the Suzuka 8 Hours this year) and the second part (Stoner replacing Pedrosa due to his arm pump problems) we expected to be true as well.  You see, an April Fools’ post that is true, but is completely implausible.  We thought it was genius.  You didn’t.

Turns out Casey Stoner did want to replace Dani Pedrosa (as we expected), but Honda turned him down (something we didn’t expect). An article just published on Sport Rider’s web site tells us what really happened behind the scenes. To set the stage, here is a tweet published by Casey Stoner a few days ago that has been widely circulated:

“Sorry to everyone but I’m not racing at Circuit of the Americas next weekend,” Stoner shared via his Twitter profile. “It would have been an honor to ride for Dani Pedrosa. Not meant to be.”

Repsol Honda team manager Livio Suppo fills in the missing details.  Here is the quote published by Sport Rider:

“It’s true, we talked,” Suppo revealed. “Casey would have liked to do it, but it was better not to. We already started the championship with a fifth place instead of a victory, so we have to stay focused. It would have been great for all the fans, but Casey never raced in Texas, and the expectations to see him at the front would have probably been unrealistic. The level is really high at this point. It was better this way, for everyone involved.”

So there you have it. Stoner wants to race motorcycles again, including in MotoGP. We will see him at the Suzuka 8 Hours this year, but will we see him back on a MotoGP bike at a race any time soon? We don’t know the answer to that, but we wouldn’t bet against Stoner eventually returning to the MotoGP series.

43 Comments

  1. Trpldog says:

    duc duc – goose

    …SORRY, JUST SOUNDED LIKE THE RIGHT THING TO SAY.

    • Trpldog says:

      On a more serious note, if MM aced the first race instead of a 5th, we possibly could have seen Stoner at COTA in place of Pedrosa. But I think in the present podium environment Honda has to play it very very safe, especially now that there are also real Ducs threatening to take up real estate in the pond. Either way, we may be in for an absolute epic year of racing!!

  2. Brinskee says:

    Stoner + Ducati = pure magic but it will never happen. Stone has way, waaaay too much pride to let it. When he took time off to figure out his lactose intolerance, they practically gave up on him and it got nasty; Stoner doesn’t forgive or forget and that treatment during his time of desperation will not be forgotten. Of course I would love to be proven wrong…

  3. guu says:

    Don’t feel too bad, nobody got my joke either. Stoner really did give Villopoto’s Kawasaki team setup advice at the Argentine motocross GP (setup is an obvious weakness on Villopoto’s MXGP program).

  4. hh says:

    monsterduc1000..not sure but it looks as if speed channel folks as in whoever owns speed did not like the new Canadian move to stop owners and cable providers (Shaw) from forcing viewers to buy bundles of channels containing stuff they do not want. Seems some owners ended their agreements and went home for a rethink, restructure, remarket, yet to return. You might check another provider format or shell out your deflated loonies & toonies and subscribe to moto gp.

  5. monsterduc1000 says:

    Does anyone know what Shaw Cable channel MotoGP is on in Canada this weekend? I can’t find it!!! 🙁

  6. mxman420 says:

    You are all forgetting something. Stoner has been test rider for Honda. They know his times and his speed. But they have constantly refused to release his laptimes. Why? Perhaps he still is fater than Marquez and they know it.

  7. Ninja9r says:

    Screw Honda, put him on a Ducati. Dani will never win the championship anyway, he’s been cursed ever since he punted Nicky.

  8. John A. Kuzmenko says:

    Marquez is their Golden Boy right now.
    They don’t want to do anything to disrupt or distract or worry him.

    • John A. Kuzmenko says:

      Also:
      If they were in the predicament of wishing for a superstar rider at the moment, Stoner would have been welcomed onto the bike.

  9. hh says:

    Blackcayman makes the most sense, and what if Stoner shows a glimmer, well then what, he splits points off MM and leaves? That’s a championship winning idea, not. Besides, competition is about human effort and you are champion of men/women, not machines. Let Stoner ride a whole season and show some championship spirit and inspiration. At the end of the season there is only one winner and many champions. Stoner has twice managed to be the winner, nothing else.

    • Gary says:

      I am quite certain that he would not deprive MM of any points. If he found himself ahead of Marquez, he would receive team orders to let him through. He could, however, deprive Rossi/Lorenzo of some points.

    • Dave says:

      Re: “Besides, competition is about human effort and you are champion of men/women, not machines.”

      Honda has always had a hard time accepting that. They have always wanted to be sure the brand is always a bigger star than the rider.

  10. Tim says:

    Why won’t Honda let Stoner race in Moto GP? Honda’s corporate decision making process is hard to understand. For 10 plus years they have raced a V4 or a V5 in Moto GP, but they only sell an inline four as a race replica. Where is the V4 race replica for sale to the public? My garage has two six cylinder CBX’s in honor of their 1960’s six cylinder 250cc racers and would have a V4 Moto GP race replica if they were willing to sell me one.

  11. Honda never makes bad decisions. This is why they lost the WAR. Stoner just might have beaten everyone. that would have been to big of an embaressment.

  12. Gary says:

    If I were running things at Honda, I would have given him a go. Why not? If he shows poorly, it is totally understandable in light of his years away. If he does well, then the gamble paid off. I fail to see the down side.

  13. Provologna says:

    Oh, the humanity! It’s heartbreaking that Stoner will not compete in this race. One imagines only the sound of ka-ching for all concerned if Honda allowed Casey to race again. Think of persons sitting on the fence whether to attend CoTA or purchase MotoGP video.

    What is actual likelihood (in percent) of MM loosing Championship points if Casey raced at CoTA?

  14. Vrooom says:

    So from Honda’s comment we’re supposed to believe that Honda thinks they have a better chance with their test rider on the bike than Stoner, never mind the incredibly hype Honda would get from it. Everybody watching GP knows Stoner, who is their test rider? Is it that Stoner’s points would count towards the manufacturer’s title? There must be a logical reason.

    • Hot Dog says:

      I think Big Red was left standing at the alter once and they’re not going to have that happen again.

      • Fishman says:

        I think Hot Dog has the answer.It makes no sense to put a test rider instead of Stoner unless there is some anger towards Stoner still.

      • Blackcayman says:

        Bingo!

        They want a “commitment” they can count on not to be teased and toyed with

      • jim says:

        Look at the way Honda has treated past greats. Not surprising at all.

  15. Ty says:

    So they put in a test rider that guarantees a non top 5 finish? Nah, Honda, I think the real reason has yet (and likely won’t) to be stated.

  16. Jason says:

    Putting Stoner on a Honda would have been great for getting eyes on the brand. The problem is that everyone would expect Stoner to win so if he didn’t at least finish in the podium fans would blame the bike. Honda is very protective of their engineering reputation so they didn’t take the risk.

    Instead they will have their test rider circle the track mid-pack and hope that Marquez challenges for the win.

  17. Markus says:

    Honda is probably worried about Stoner stealing wins from Marquez.
    Short sighted of them though. If Stoner could get between Marquez and Rossi, it would pad the points lead for Marquez.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      “Honda is probably worried about Stoner stealing wins from Marquez.”

      I highly doubt that. The only hidden message in Honda’s statement might be that they acknowledge that competition for podiums might be a little fiercer this year, and they are worried that putting Stoner on the bike would be to sacrifice championship point for PR points. The man is great, but he has been out of and uncommitted to the game for a couple of years now.

      • Blackcayman says:

        “””I””” think they are treating him like a silly girlfriend, who wants to come back, but not for real. They say NO, if you want to race again in MotoGP, lets talk about a full season…ONLY!

      • Dave says:

        Re: “they are worried that putting Stoner on the bike would be to sacrifice championship point for PR points. ”

        Honda has to know they’d score more constructors points with Stoner on an unfamiliar bike than with the test rider. If Stoner got up front he’d also absorb more points that would count against Marquez’ chances, regardless of where Maq finished. There is more to this than is reported.

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          I have no idea who their test rider is or how fast he is on the bike, or if that is who will actually pilot the bike. As far as more to this than being reported, I like Blackcayman’s take on it above.

          • mickey says:

            Hiroshi Aoyama is a former 250 World Champion. He has raced MotoGP for Honda for 4 years filling in . 64 starts, no podiums. certainly no Casey Stoner, but a decent enough rider. He will battle with Hayden at Austin.

          • Blackcayman says:

            thanks…

          • Jason says:

            Aoyama was Nicky Hayden’s teammate on the Aspar team last year. Nicky was faster at the start of the season, before falling off the pace and taking time off to have his wrist worked on.

  18. Krisd says:

    I dunno- you cant take a couple of years off and expect to be at the front, no matter how good you are. Perhaps he was simply looking at Bayliss’s experience and thought he could just have some fun without the pressure and expectation of making the top 5-ish?

  19. Bart says:

    I have had the good fortune to see some of the great road racing match-ups at Laguna Seca and in Italy.

    Stoner vs Marquez has the potential to be one of the great match-ups of modern times.

    I would pay to see that at CoTA or Laguna.

    Honda marketing opportunity lost!

    • MGNorge says:

      Could have worked the other way as Suppo suggested. Rather than being a golden opportunity for Honda’s marketing department it could have backfired if Stoner didn’t make the grade. I would have liked to see him have a go but the decision was made.

  20. Bill says:

    Stoner would complain about the heat, the track, Dani’s bike settings, the beverages, and everything that could prevent him from being competitive…then beat everyone anyway.

    A side note…imagine Stoner on one of the Ducatis now….good heavens

  21. xLaYN says:

    imagine the guy kicking some a$$$ all the way to the first place…
    or finish the race on 10th+ due to the extremely competitive environment.
    Anything could have happened.
    Count me on the “would have love to see him winning” side.