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Stoner Stuns Paddock at Valencia Test

Two days after finishing on the podium aboard his Ducati, Casey Stoner set the fastest lap on the final day of testing at Valencia aboard his new Honda MotoGP bike. The paddock was stunned, not because observers do not already know how talented Stoner is, but because the bike was entirely new to him. Indeed, to do what Stoner did within 48-hours after leaving Ducati is probably unprecedented. Keep in mind that Jorge Lorenzo was again aboard his Yamaha, storming to the quickest time on day one of the post-race test (which was the fastest time overall during the test, but only a tiny fraction of a second faster than Stoner’s lap on day two). To put Stoner’s speed on his new Honda into perspective, note that his quickest lap on the new bike was superior to the quickest lap of any of his competitors during qualifying for the Valencia race two days earlier, including that of Jorge Lorenzo on his factory Yamaha.

Valentino Rossi, on the other hand, seemed to be cruising around on his new Ducati while setting the 15th quickest lap on day two. All signs point to the fact that the Honda factory bike is well dialed-in, and one has to wonder just how much faster Stoner can get as he gains more seat time.

During the second half of the 2010 series, all of the  Honda riders seemed to step it up. Pedrosa won races when he was not on the ground or injured, and even rookie Marco Simoncelli started to run near the front. The Honda is good…very good. It is also, apparently, easy to ride.

A few years ago, Casey Stoner was an alien among aliens, taking a world title and routinely taking pole positions and race wins.. on a bike no one else could ride. One has to wonder what he might do in 2011 aboard a Honda.


  1. Rich says:

    It is truly wonderful reading all the interesting angles on this page. Just reading the input has my mouth watering for next year. Can’t wait to see how hard these guys fight it out. They all have something to prove. Rossi has to prove that he’s still the best. Stoner has to prove that 2007 wasn’t a fluke and he’s not a crash guy. Jorge has to prove he can win with a healthy Rossi in every race (or nearly every race). Dani has to prove that he can actually put an entire season together and win the championship. Nicky has to prove that 2006 wasn’t a fluke and he can actually pilot the Duc to the championship. They all have something to prove and it’s going to make 2011 one hell of a season!!

  2. Manic says:

    I see a lot of uneducated responses in here. Wish all you want, but next year it could be anyone of them. As far as Rossi goes, you’d be a fool to count him out. Many have in the past and been proven wrong, time & time again! Anyone who says Lorenzo is a one hit wonder needs to go back to watching NeckCar! Anyone who thinks he would have even considered going back to Honda is really ignorant! I trully feel embarrased for you!

    • Gary says:

      … the only “fool” is the one who thinks everyone who disagrees with him is “uneducated.” get a grip, get a clue. it’s an inexact science.

    • Calvin and Hobbes says:

      Manic I totally agree, it appears ignorance is running rampant on this page, with Gary twirling the baton and leading the way!

  3. Gary says:

    I hate to say I told you so, but …

  4. Brian says:

    Can not wait for the 1000cc to come.
    Rip snortin’ fun is around the corner

  5. Philip says:

    I was at the test and most people could care less about what Stoner was doing. Lots of #46 interest. Stoner is amazing fast, he’s just an animal on the bike! He will ride it to the limit with no fear, but he rides so frantically that sometimes he makes a mistake and goes down. Also these bikes at the test were running rich compared to the fueling they used during race so who knows what Rossi was testing, it’s not much use testing an engine map that you can’t use to make it to the finish line.

  6. burtg says:

    You have to remember that not everyone can ride the Ducati. It isn’t gauranteed that Rossi can tame the Ducati. Just look at his times from the test. Stoner gets on the Honda and nukes everyone. Rossi on the other hand was struggling. I think Nicky has figured out the Ducati. His late season results attest to this.

  7. leroi says:

    meh…the 800cc “electric” bikes makes for sterile (tho fast) racing. The lightest midget has the edge and the normal sized talent has to roll the dice.

    Never been so fast, never been so predictable, never been so sterile.

    Dont mean to detract from all these fellas real talent, they are superb riders but you gotta be under 5’6″ sub 130LBS or be Rossi to have a chance.

  8. alan says:

    Don’t forget Pedrosa

  9. Vasco Santos says:

    Well it’s still to early. The only thing for granted is that Stoner will be very fast. But don’t pass Rossi yet! remember 2004? his first laps on the M1 where slowish, then in the pre-season tests in February he went very fast to everyone’s surprise. If story repeats itself I imagine right now as we speak/write the Ducati engineers are living indoors the Ducati Factory working overtime trying to improve the bike based on Rossi’s very good riding feedback.

    • ej says:

      No, you remembered it wrong about 2004. Rossi’s first ride on M1 was already extremely fast. Faster than all his new teammates, and almost as fast as the Honda rivals. Here’s my proof:

      If 10th is the best he can do about GP10 now, given the fact that Rossi never had trouble getting fast on new bikes, it could mean GP10 has got some serious problems. And you gotta give Stoner some credit for being one of the ‘aliens’ in season 2010.

  10. jim says:

    Rossi is sand-bagging, obviously. Nicky won’t get better until the 1000’s come back. Ben will win races next year but Rossi will take it. Casey will take second or crash trying.

  11. Rich says:

    Nicky is incredibly fast when the fuel economy controls are taken out of the injection/timing map of the ECU. Since they went to the 21 liter fuel limit the guys who steer with the throttle have been – well – throttled in their attempts to ride in their own style. The fuel limit is undoubtedly the worst thing that has happened to MotoGP as it places an entirely artificial constraint on not only engineering but a rider’s desire to set up the bike to suit them.

    MotoGP is now all about cornering speed. American rider’s who develop their skill-set on dirt tracks are ill-suited for this – as would be European rider’s if they attempted to compete on our dirt-tracks.

    As to Stoner’s ability on the Ducati, it is said that the Ducati chassis has difficulty getting its tires up to operating temp – and that Stoner just “goes for it” during the first few laps to get them warmed up. Other riders have been reluctant to adopt his approach (as it often involves crashing if unsuccessful). However, all that being said, I do believe that Stoner may be the most gifted rider in the paddock. When he left Honda years ago – he was on a privateer team – his complaint was that Rossi got “special qualifying” tires. Those qualifiers were much easier to get to working temps and the privateers could not compete.

  12. Cal says:

    I don’t understand the huge difference in Stoner’s Duc and Hayden’s Duc. Nicky is good but was it that Stiner is so much better. Nicky was much more competative before he chose Ducati…….I think Stoner will walk away with it!! Nicky should start thinking Japanese or retirement.

    • TassieBryan says:

      I’ve got to agree about Hayden, on a different bike and no fuel restrictions he’d be far more competitive.
      Stoner is just pure talent, I doubt ANYONE could ride around the Ducati’s problems like he’s done the last couple of years.

  13. Jim says:

    It will be interesting to see if Ducati gets the front end issues sorted out by next year. If it was just Hayden or Stoner crashing – that would be one thing but both of them have had issues and have complained about the vague feel.

    I think Hayden would be more competitive if he were on a different bike – kudos to him for sticking around at Ducati and trying to sort things out.

  14. GMan38 says:

    Rossi’s leg will be fully healed and he’s getting his shoulder fixed, so he’ll be healthy for 2011. And he’s got the savvy to let Ducati know what the bike is or isn’t doing so they can fix it. As talented as Stoner is, he is known to lack the skills to convey what the problem with the bike is. Who’s going to win next year? Beats the heck out of me, but it’ll be fun watching. They just need to do something to get more than 17 bikes in the field.

  15. bill says:

    I think to be making predictions about next year after 2 days of testing prior to the winter break speaks volumes about anyone who does.
    Additionally, what do you think rossi is doing? If any of you have been to a trackday (especially for the 1st time or on a new bike) and actually know what you’re doing, you can appreciate what rossi is doing given his intuitivness and the ducati’s current attributes.

  16. Norm G. says:

    i predict stoner will crash out in 2011 more than a few times tucking the front and lowsiding at the rear. not because that’s what happened for most of 2010…? not because that’s what happened during his 2008 title defense…? not because he isn’t talented…? and definitely not because he doesn’t have a smokin’ hot wife…? but because of one of the oldest human character flaws… hubris.

  17. John A. Kuzmenko says:

    Maybe, in other words, just a clear example of how crap the Ducati actually was.

  18. Me says:

    As much as I root for Hayden, he at least on a 800cc GP bike, is just not as good as the “Aliens”. Stoner and Lorenzo will fight all year (hopefully) and Spies will be just behind them in points. Rossi will have a rough year on the Ducati but will rebound in 2012. IMHO

  19. motobell says:

    anyone writing stuff about stoner winning on superior ducati in the past better shut up – he won a title and most races in 800cc era despite being on ducati and crashing a lot this year due to vague frontend and missing races last year due to illness – melandri, capirossi, hayden.. no other talent has been able to ride that bike. Stoner is supreme!

    Rossi may have been crusing around knwoing very well he cannot put it on the top box and not wanting comparisons – what a brilliant 2012 it is going to be! my predictions stoner, lorenzo, dani, rossi, spies

    • Tim says:

      Go back and watch the races his championship year. He won because the Ducati blew away the other bikes on the straighs. He took it easy in the curves because he knew his bike had the better top end, so he didn’t push as hard in the curves as he’s had to the past couple of years.

      That having been said, I’ve predicted all along that he will have a great year on the Honda. There is no doubt it is a better handling machine, and I also thought it was the fastest bike on the straights for most of the second half of the 2010 season.

      I’m not taking away from his riding skills. He’s one of the 4 best riders on the grid. This will be a match made in heaven.

      I believe Rossi will regret the Ducati move. A move back to Honda would have been much better for him.

      • kpaul says:

        Tim I agree with motobell. Your logic makes no sense at all. Everyone knows about the the vague Ducati front end feel except for you. I am sure Stoner would not to “decide to take it easy” sheesh.

  20. burtg says:

    I predict Stoner wins the 2011 championship. Lorenzo 2nd. Spies 3rd. Hayden 4th. Rossi 5th.

    • Patrick D says:

      Hayden to beat Rossi?

      Nicky hasn’t been able to run with any of his team mates in the 800cc era. To suggest he will do so next year is ludicrous.

      • brinskee says:

        Ahh, but here’s the deal: Nicky is very familiar with the bike. If he can steal from the cheat sheets of Rossi and crew, get his bike set up right, he actually may have a chance. He has balls, he knows how to charge. He just needs a more stable bike to do it on.

    • David says:

      Niki is good compared to the most riders, but not to the aliens (that’s why they are called alien, hello!?). Actually, I wonder how Niki won his title… 3 (three) victories in 7 years! He was at the right time in the right place. Compare this to 79 victories (GP only) of Rossi. Hell, Melandri (Who?) has 5 in the same range!

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