– Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Stoner Makes Believers

So, does three wins in the first four MotoGP races of 2007 convince you? How about having the legendary Valentino Rossi nipping at your heels the entire race, maintaining your cool, and defeating him . . . not only once, but twice! This is how Casey Stoner has started the 2007 MotoGP series for Ducati — resulting in his points lead (86 to Rossi’s 71 points after four rounds).

If Ducati took a chance by hiring the young Australian to team with veteran Loris Capirossi this year, that chance has already paid off (three victories in an entire MotoGP series would be a tremendous result for Ducati, much less three wins in four races). Stoner had two reputations, including one for being very fast and one for crashing frequently. So far this year, only the first of those has foretold his destiny.

It is the part about Stoner calmly dealing with pressure from Rossi that is most telling. Stoner hasn’t panicked. To the contrary, he has stayed within his limits, and finished the races upright, and in front of the intimidating Yamaha champion. Rossi doesn’t get beat very often when he stays that close to the front until the end, and it is even more rare that a rider does that to him twice in four races. So, we can assume that Casey Stoner is the real deal, and that Ducati is already deep in the hunt for its first MotoGP championship.

Upcoming tighter circuits (where the Ducati’s massive top speed advantage will not come into play) will be interesting, but Stoner can get around a tight, twisty circuit quickly, as well. He has proven that plenty of times in the past. On paper, however, Rossi should have the advantage at these circuits.

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