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Stoner and Honda

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.


  1. McRacer says:

    Seriously, Rossi can sort out a bike and win the same year (2004-Yamaha). Burgess makes him the great racer that he is today. With that said Rossi might have trouble in the Ducati garage, but if Casey pulled it off, I have faith in Rossi doing it, too.
    Honda doesn’t need Stoner, they have a capable rider in Dovizioso. Honda has that ego and will keep searching for their elusive winner. Lorenzo with his ego and Honda could team up and start Lorenzo on his downhill slide to oblivion.

  2. Mark says:

    Combined bike/rider weight would yield and advantage to heavier riders. It is not a simple issue. Being able to lean a bunch of weight on the inside while the lighter riders are stuck with static weight is not fair… not sure how you solve the issue, but rider/bike weight combos is not the answer.

  3. Jamie says:

    Wendy summed it up nicely. And she is right. (beleive me – this is from the inside)
    Big Red is famous for telling its riders “we make good bikes, you stupid riders don’t ride them right”. Welcome to the real world peoples.

    This isn’t about the riders. Its about the bikes. And its about selling more bikes. The riders are just a means to an end.

    As to the skill of the riders argument….. we all have our opinions, thats obvious.
    But, They are all good!!!! Some are just more consistent than others.

    Oh yeah…. and Motobell, Next years title is’nt between Stoner, Rossi & Lorenzo. Its going to be between Honda, Ducati & Yamaha. These are the names behind the pay cheques to the Mechanics, Support Crews, Managers and the riders.

    Think about it …….

  4. Brian says:

    Since when has Casey Stoner not been able to develop a bike….where is the evidence for this?…20 wins and many podiums on a bucking brute which seemed to suit him just fine.
    Also the Ducati ‘culture’ is a hurdle to be dealt with too….maybe it needs an Italian rider to turn this around.
    His experience on the satellite Honda wasn’t a complete disaster (1 pole/1 2nd place)….several second half season crashes due in part to a suspect front end (and 3rd rate tyres)suffered even by the factory Hondas and the impatience of a youth desperate to go places.
    His has been a short yet complex career. It is totally wrong to generalise on his results as if they tell the whole story….like any rider for that matter.

  5. Greg says:

    I agree with Wendy also. Casey has not been able to help the development of the Ducati, and it took half the season for Honda to sort the bike this year with Dovi and the P word. Rossi will pick up where Hayden left off in the development of the Ducati, and make it a more balanced and usable package. Ducati is due for updates to their production bikes, and need the likes of Rossi to sort out their new technology before it trickles down.

    Lorenzo will still rule next year, but I don’t think Spies will shine till they go to 1000cc bikes. Spies will be the top non-alien though sitting in the 3-4 position next year.

    The one rule change I would like to see is a combined bike rider weight range. The taller riders are stick figures and still have roughly a 60 lbs weight disadvantage on the smallest guy (P word).

  6. jerrylee says:

    The industry can use some real “hype” right now to generate badly needed interest and support to keep struggling manufacturers and sponsors investing in the sport. The current “shake up” of riders and manufacturers should be just the ticket to kick start the 2011 season. I wasn’t too interested in attending any MotoGP events this year but I’m making plans for 2011.

  7. Joey Wilson says:

    Honda has lost its ‘Honda-ness’ somehow. Soichiro Honda must be spinning in his grave like a camshaft to see HRC sign an Italian race manager and a non-Japanese staff wholesale, give up and go to Ohlins and Magnetti Marelli, and on and on. They let Rossi walk, no surprise as HRC has always treated their riders poorly. How could the same folks who conjured the mighty RC211V out of thin air follow it with the hapless RC212V?

    Their cars have started to stink, they are rudderless in their streetbikes, and this most German of Japanese companies engineering-wise is down to hoping that if they reunite Stoner with his former Italian boss the results will come. From where? Let’s see, when can I order my Ducati #46 jacket . . . .

    • Tim says:

      Honda has treated riders poorly. I completely agree with that. Let’s not forget what they did to Hayden after his championship year. They built their next bike for someone much smaller (Pedrosa), and forced their defending World Champion to learn to ride a bike designed for his teammate. Talk about lack of respect.

      I do think Stoner will challenge on a Honda. I really believe they’ve been the fastest bikes this year. I think Pedrosa must be hard on tires. He always starts fast and fades. Stoner knows how to take care of his tires. I look for him and Spies to be the big challengers to Lorenzo next year.

      I hope Ducati gives Rossi a ride deserving of him. It they do, he’ll definitely be in the mix, but they need to make serious improvements to their bikes.

      • sam says:

        I know it takes a lot to be motogp champion. but hayden didnt really take it away, rather rossi/yamaha gave it away. how many races did he win that season, one?!? and please save your ‘slow and steady wins the race’ arguments for someone who watches turtle racing, not motogp. no one likes to admit it, but everyone knows it – nicky was never gonna be the guy who builds a dynasty, or even a repeat. i actually can’t blame hond afor putting their eggs in the pedrosa basket. they guy should have been a winner, but he turned out to be as flaky as his manager.

  8. Yamasarus says:

    You guys might be selling the Rossi/Ducati short. The Duc is already a competitive bike and Valentino has already proved that he can take the worst bike on the track and win with it the very first time out! Some have very short memories.

    • Tim says:

      The Ducati needs to improve if Val is going to win a championship on it. This year’s bike is nothing like the dominant ride that Stoner won a championship on 2 years ago. Stoner won that championship on the straights, where the Ducati was significantly faster than evertyhing else. Yamaha and Honda have caught and surpassed the Ducatis.

      Rumors were rampant last year that Stoner’s illness had a lot to do with his fear of the quirky handling of that Ducati. I have no idea if there was any basis for those rumors, but they were going around. He’s bounced back, and is having a much better year, but I think he’ll really step it up on the Honda.

      A lot can happen in a year, though, and they don’t call Rossi the Doctor for nothing. If Ducati can dial up the speed, the Doctor will tame that beast.

  9. Brinskee says:

    I think Spies will come out absolutely swinging next year on board a factory ride. He’s the next great American hope, and I agree, Hayden’s days are probably over, even with the switch to 1,000CC coming up in 2012. His attitude has changed, he’s got fear in his eyes. The true white-hot fire isn’t there.

    I agree, if Rossi can’t beat Lorenzo on the same bike, I don’t see him doing it on the Ducati – as much as I want to see that! Stoner is a huge unknown at Honda. I think he will be competitive.

    All sorts of ways it could play out, but I see it as Lorenzo, Rossi, Spies (you read it here first) top three next year, with Pedrosa, Stoner, Devisioso, Hayden all running in the mix.

    When is Edwards going to retire? Not soon enough…

  10. Gary says:

    I think Lorenzo will be the next champ, and that he will hold the crown for several years. Rossi will need at least a year to sort the Duc, and by that time he will be beyond his peak shelf life. Time can be cruel. With Stoner, there always seems to be a mystery problem that keeps him from consistent top finishes. Spies is the dark horse. I sincerely hope he joins the ranks of the aliens, and runs at the front. Time will tell.

  11. says:

    I can say I don’t care who wins as long as we can get back to races where the lead changes sveral times and there are at least four manufacturers within 1 second of the lead. Those were the days.

  12. Bill says:

    what is the stipulation with 3 riders on one team?

  13. Rick says:

    That’s a pretty harsh assessment of Honda and how they operate. You have this information how?

  14. alan says:

    good point Wendy, you know Moto GP well

  15. Wendy says:

    Two, no make that three non development riders at Honda. Big Red is famous for telling its riders “we make good bikes, you stupid riders don’t ride them right”. I don’t see Casey getting better at Honda, but it should make for an interesting soap opera in 2011.

  16. motobell says:

    ok stoner fan or not.. you have to love the new lineup next year, lorenzo and rossi on different bikes and stoner on a competitive machinery.

    I personally think Stoner has to the most under rated rider among the aliens – last year stats show that he could have easily won the title if not for the mysterious illness – this year has been a aberration – clearly since his first race where he lost the front end he has been complaining.. hope he puts a few good races together.. If Honda remains as competitive a bike as today, stoner will be top candidate for the title. I have massive respect for stoner as the first true challenger to Rossi and beat him straight up with a difficult to ride Ducati the first year.

    Next years title is between Stoner, Rossi & Lorenzo – I will take beer bet that that is how they will finish – F@#K it is hard to cheer for just one of them – I like them all and oh yeah Spies will rock too and may be Dani will elevate his performance with stoner arriving @ honda.. everyone else is tier 2 rider -sorry Nicky – you should go to WSBK and I am sure you can kick everyone’s butt there.

    we live in glorious times!