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Dear Casey, Please Come Back and Race! Stoner Quickest at Sepang Test on Opening Day


I know that Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) said that Casey Stoner “rides like a god”, but most fans want more than to watch god embarrass the MotoGP regulars, on occasion, as he did earlier today at Sepang. Sure, he took part in a private test last week at the same venue, but the track was a damp mess.

In any event, as the first official test of the 2017 season opened at Sepang earlier today, the four-years-retired Stoner threw down the fastest lap (he only took 32). For reference, reigning champ Marc Marquez (Honda) took 56 laps and was more than a second slower than Stoner. As a footnote, Stoner was testing several set-ups to help the regular riders, and not trying for a fast lap.

Worse yet, new superstar Ducati team member Jorge Lorenzo took 45 laps and was close to two seconds slower than Stoner’s best. Lorenzo has excuses, and “needs time”, as you will see in the following Ducati press release. Not the best sign when Ducati took the top two spots on the time sheets with the same bike beneath the Spaniard. Testing continues tomorrow (although, Stoner will not ride tomorrow).

Here is the Ducati press release:

Day 1 of IRTA tests concludes at Sepang with quickest time for Ducati Team test-rider Casey Stoner. Second place on the timesheets for Andrea Dovizioso, while Jorge Lorenzo ends the day in provisional seventeenth

The first day of IRTA testing at Sepang concluded this afternoon, as the rain, which began to fall on the Malaysian circuit at around 4 pm, made it impossible to improve times anymore. As a result the session came to an end with Casey Stoner, present at the circuit as test-rider, at the top of the timesheets with a time of 1’59.680 while Andrea Dovizioso was just behind in second with a time of 1’59.797. Jorge Lorenzo, making his debut in factory Ducati Team colours, was in seventeenth place with a time of 2’01.349.

Casey Stoner (Ducati Test Team #27) – 32 laps – 1’59.680 (1st)
“Today was positive and the best thing about it was that we got a lot of dry track time. It’s been hanging in the balance really with the weather because the track takes so long to dry and if it rains at all within twelve hours, you’re going to get very little track time. It’s great that we got out there straightaway this morning and started putting in some good laps, reconfirming what we felt earlier in the week. We got a lot of comparisons done today so it was really good to get a feeling and direction with the bike. We still have a lot more work to do, it was disappointing that it rained but hopefully on Wednesday when we come back on track we can pick up where we left off and move this bike further forward, especially in the chassis area.”

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 29 laps – 1’59.797 (2nd)
“The first day of testing in 2017 went pretty well and I am pleased because we showed good pace right from the start, using the same bike as Valencia and without needing to make any particular changes. Without the wings we had to adapt to the bike, and we still have a lot of fine-tuning work to do, both with the electronics and on the set-up, because the bike behaves differently, but in any case we are maintaining a good competitive level and it’s always important to start off with this sort of confirmation. Starting off on the right foot helps us continue with the development, and if you add to this the fact that I set my quickest time on a medium tyre, then we have to be satisfied.”

Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team #99) – 45 laps – 2’01.349 (17th)
“At this circuit I noticed a bigger difference between my Ducati and the bike that I have ridden for the last nine years. Now we have to do two things to be quicker: the first is to gradually adapt the bike to the way I like it, and the second and more important, is to know how to do that and understand how to be quicker. I still need some more time for that, more than I hoped for, but in any case it’s still too early to come to conclusions. It’s only a question of time and laps on the track, so we will work in this direction. The important thing is that the other Ducati bikes were very quick, and this means that the bike has a lot of potential.”

See more of MD’s great photography:



  1. Fred M. says:

    From the article: “Lorenzo has excuses, and “needs time”, as you will see in the following Ducati press release.”

    That’s the real battle I’d like to see: Stoner vs. Lorenzo to finally settle who has the most excuses.

    Lorenzo: I was distracted by mosquitos.
    Stoner: The press has been mean to me.
    Lorenzo: I have bronchitis and am on antibiotics.
    Stoner: I had clutch troubles.
    Lorenzo: My visor fogged up.
    Stoner: I had arm pump.
    Lorenzo: My helmet foam came loose.
    Stoner: My bike had front-end chatter.

    It could be a battle for the ages

  2. Mick says:

    I don’t know about the rest of you guys. But I would rather have the job that Stoner has now. Getting paid to ride race bikes all day without having to race the season and deal with all the related stress. What’s not to like?

  3. hh says:

    ok if Casey Stoner does not want to moto gp, then why does he keep coming around like a coy moth before the flame. Let us encourage him to do IOM.

  4. TunaPete says:

    I just want the races to be broadcast on a TV channel that I can actually watch. 🙁

    • Curly says:

      Get the video pass. For $149 you can watch every race, every class, every practice, every qualifying of the 2017 season and tests like this one.

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “Get the video pass. For $149”

        no, give me “free lunch” or give me death…!!!

        (translation: who at this point dares “feign ignorance” about the online subscriptions available for both MotoGP and WSBK)

  5. Rapier says:

    I assume he knows what’s best for himself. Being fast and being fast all the time or having to try and be fast all the time for a whole season are different things. I suspect he just doesn’t have the competitive fire. That’s the final edge in completions and often those who have it to a fault stay in whatever the game is and at or near the top. It’s more than just a talent or skill.

  6. MotoMaster39 says:

    I’d be willing to bet a lot of money that he was faster because he wasn’t messing with his settings as much as the other guys. Everyone else probably went closer to ‘stock’ settings on day two and that’s how they closed the gap.

  7. VForce says:

    I miss having Casey in the field. He may be one of the fastest riders on the planet, especially on the Ducati, but he is a real a hole. I enjoyed rooting for Rossi or anyone really to beat him. The racing is important but its the cast of characters and rivalries that keep it interesting.

    Want proof? This sums it up in a few words.

    Rainey. Roberts. Mamola. Schwantz Doohan Sheene Spencer Lawson

    Their talent was extraordinary but what really made the time that they were racing the “Golden Age of Grand Prix” was their contrasting personalities. The rivalries made their battles epic and legendary.

    ps as much as I think some miss Casey, I think more people actually miss having his wife in the pits…

  8. VLJ says:

    If they made me king, I’d make Stoner come back…on the Honda.

    That’s what I’d really like to see, Casey Stoner sharing a garage with Marc Marquez. How would #93 fare with a legitimate threat to his supremacy riding the same bike, under the same team colors?

    I’m guessing last year’s Mr. Play It Safe version would go right out the window, and we’d be treated to Hell’s Bells Marquez all over again. The two of them going at it every practice session, every qualifying session, every race, every press conference, man, what a glorious sight to behold.

    • mickey says:

      If that would happen I could just hear Rossi now

      “You’re kidding me… that’s not fair”

      • Scott says:

        Rossi might just welcome it, knowing that the odds are those two would would take each other out on more than one occasion…

  9. Curly says:

    Gee just look who topped the chart on Day 2! The Suzuki is making real progress.

  10. Tommy D says:

    This is amazing! Anyone that doesn’t stand in awe of this news story is a fool. I’m sure the entire paddock is scratching their heads at this one. They now know what’s attainable and need to figure out how to get there.

  11. Ricardo says:

    Go Casey!! you still have it in you.

  12. duclvr says:

    It would almost be worth the thin-skinned, petty whining.

  13. Artem says:

    I do not think Casey is the best, remembering how he was flying og the bike.

  14. Mugwump says:

    Show up, turn fast times and go home. Brilliant plan stick with it, you’re still a hero.

  15. MotoMaster39 says:

    Didn’t he quit because the rules were changing all the time and he felt like it wasn’t fair for the riders?

    Seems like they have stayed steady for a while now, except for the wings coming and going. Might be a good time for him to give it another go. Without a doubt he will feel more stress as a racer, than his current gig as a professional practice rider.

    • JSH says:

      He quit because he was 26, healthy, and had enough money for a lifetime. It was also the year his daughter was born.

      It is also important to keep in mind that he started racing when he was 4 and racing professionally at the age 14.

  16. Tim C says:

    Stoner’s form in that pic is perfect. Damn.

    • Stuki Moi says:

      His form is always perfect. Heck, any of the aliens’ form is. Those guys even maintain perfect form when sliding down the tarmac at 200mph!

      it must be kind of cool to just be a regular schlub with a job as a test rider, and go out and trounce Lorenzo by 2 seconds on same bikes!

  17. Gary says:

    Dang … I’ll bet the other riders hope he stays on the sideline. One second faster than Lorenzo. That’s a huge gap.

    • William Parker says:

      And he still get smoked by Marquez.Stoner had 2 titles in 7 seasons, MM has 3 in 4 seasons..

      • Dirck Edge says:

        The 4 seasons following Stoner’s retirement.

        • ROXX says:

          MIC DROP!

        • William Parker says:

          Stoner was always a better qualifier than racer. He’d complain when someone tried to battle him like it was a privilege to share the same track or something. Marquez is super fast and loves mixing it up…BIG DIFFERENCE.

      • Provologna says:

        One of Stoner’s two Championships was on a Ducati with legendary horrible handling quirks, a Ducati only Stoner mastered, a Ducati on which every other rider failed.

        Think of MM’s many crashes and failed 2015 season, allegedly caused by his Honda’s handling problems. Suppose we time-transported today’s MM back to Stoner’s Ducati Championship season, where MM and Stoner raced on the same Ducati. Who reading this except you, believes Stoner would not have utterly buried MM?

        • Dave says:

          Re: “was on a Ducati with legendary horrible handling quirks, a Ducati only Stoner mastered, a Ducati on which every other rider failed.”

          Is that correct? I thought he won on the bike with the steel trellis frame and the evil one was the bike with the carbon/frameless thing that they abandoned a couple of years ago (that’s become a great superbike from what I can see).

          I think the tire supplier change was seriously detrimental to the Ducati effort at the time, too.

          • Norm G. says:

            re: “I thought he won on the bike with the steel trellis frame and the evil one was the bike with the carbon/frameless thing that they abandoned”

            CORRECTAMUNDO…!!! (Jules voice)

            sidebar: technically they were both bad, just one was REALLY REALLY bad.

        • William Parker says:

          Sorry dude, I’m actually a ROSSI fan, so got no horse in the proverbial race/argument. I just think Marquez might be the quickest rider I’ve ever seen…

  18. RRocket says:

    Dear Casey…please stay retired. I don’t want to hear you whinge and cry like a high school drama queen at every single opportunity for every single reason. You’re an excellent quitter; you quit on Ducati (“My tummy hurts!”), you quit on MotoGP, you quit on racing cars, etc

    Please don’t quit quitting and stay retired.

    • William Parker says:

      But I have to complain! Can you imagine the burden of being a multi-millionaire many times over with a mansion, beautiful wife and child? I’m sure Job never suffered as much….

    • Dirck Edge says:

      When did he complain? Is that a wive’s tale?

      Besides, Mr. Rocket, who cares about this sport and focuses on the press conferences? I care about the racing, myself.

      • mickey says:

        I can’t wait for the season to start again. Skilled riders on 250 HP machines, rubbing knees and elbows on the curbing, leaving giant black C’s of rubber as they slide around a turn, diving inside, and shooting outside of each other lap after lap until the checkered. yea baby!

      • RRocket says:

        When didn’t he complain? It is no wives tale if you’ve followed the sport for any length of time.

        And indeed, we all LOVE the racing. But many of us also like these characters, too…as with most professional sports.

    • ChrisRR says:

      RRocket I totally agree with you. And give Lorenzo a little time and he’ll be just as fast, but with none of the spoiled brat attitude.

  19. Provologna says:

    Not JLo, but rather JSlow…at least vs. some old retired stoner, I mean guy named Stoner.

  20. Brinskee says:

    As I mentioned in the other article, he’s really something special. All the other riders know it, tossing around words like “unusual” “a god” “something special” and so on. If any of you haven’t read his book, I encourage you to do so, there are some excellent life lessons in there,and one in particular has stayed with me over the years.

    When he breaks down his secret for success, he simply explains that all he works on at the track is the sections where he’s slowest. He never tried to be quicker where he’s already fast, he focuses on the hard parts. This is so very valuable; work on the hard stuff and the rest will follow.

    I wish there was a magic number someone could come up with for him to give us just one more season. I can’t imagine that he wouldn’t enjoy himself just a little bit. You have to respect his resolve, but wow, what a show he could make. Pleae Casey, if you read these comments, please give us one more dance. You inspire more people than you can ever imagine.

  21. mickey says:

    So Jlo… Is it any consolation to go home and count your money?

  22. Scott says:

    Imagine being the best in the world at something, but not wanting to do it. Wow.

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