Casey Stoner talked to us about the past, present and future over the Mugello round. He was there to keep a close eye on proceedings at the Italian GP, a race won by Jorge Lorenzo.
Someone even asks him if he feels ready to replace Pedrosa's place on the Honda in 2019.
“I'm happy with my role as test rider - the Australian replies with a laugh - aside from that, I'm still recovering from after the shoulder surgery I had in February. I knew it would take time, not this long though, I'm doing physio though and applying some weights”.
His physical condition clarified, attention turns to the race, because Lorenzo won in Italy and the test rider wonders whether he'll be able to do it again.
“I think so, at the end of last year he proved to have more confidence with the bike, perhaps he struggled to adapt this year, but now we've seen that he's been able to get comfortable on the GP18. This bike is definitely less aggressive than mine, but heavier than the Yamaha. If you want to win with the Ducati, you need to train hard, though I found it easier to adapt”.
How do the Honda and Ducati differ?
“It's more difficult with the Ducati in some ways, but the bike also offers greater stability. Look at Jack Miller for example and his performance early this year. The aim is to minimise effort”.
Despite the Mugello win, the writing is on the wall for Lorenzo. He, like Rossi before him, has decided to retrace his steps. Casey is asked who had the worst experience, the Doctor or the Majorcan.
“It's a different story, though it was worse for Valentino, as Jorge has been able to fight for the podium on various occasions. He's run up front at times, showing the right confidence with the bike”.
Will anyone regret #99's departure in light of the Mugello win we wonder.
“The future depends on Jorge alone, if he were to stay, it's no doubt a great opportunity. If he's not convinced it's only right that he change and choose another bike”.
Lorenzo aside, Miller's performance has also impressed Stoner.
“I'd seen him in the past, he's very consistent and impresses me. I didn't expect him to be so fast, especially at Le Mans. He's proved he can fight for the podium”.
Then there is the market. The name of the second Honda rider is not yet known.
“Taking a young rider is risky, while I don't think someone like Iannone can have a good relationship with Marquez. I repeat, choosing a youngster is risky in my opinion”.
And what about the title fight, with Doviziosi able to make up some points to Marquez.
“Dovi was in the better situation at Le Mans, while he was really unlucky at Jerez. Andrea could be leading the championship. He's without doubt stronger than one year ago and can put pressure on the others”.
As well as Lorenzo win, the Australian was also impressed by Rossi's record pole.
“I thought Marc or Cal were more likely to do it, but they both made mistakes. Rossi was perfect and clean in his riding”.