There are very few riders who have remained in the hearts of fans like Casey Stoner. There are still many people who would like to see him again in the races, in a challenge with another phenomenon like Marc Marquez. The Australian had a long chat about his past, his present and his future with Chris Vermeulen, in a video that you can see above.
"For me, finishing the race was a release, I loved working with the team and qualifying"
Like the fans, Casey revealed that he too has often thought about what would happen if he had kept racing.
"Without a doubt I would have challenged for more championships, if I would have won another one I don't know, that’s up for debate. Sometimes I’ve had little wishes to come back, not necessarily for the racing aspect but I loved working with my team. I know it sounds stupid, but I loved the practice sessions when the weather was all right and the bike was working great, I loved the qualifying sessions and that little bit of pressure of getting everything right for a lap, I really enjoyed that. Racing wasn’t necessarily my most enjoyable part, because you’d put all this effort into 20 laps, and you can't make a mistake and it's that easy to make a mistake on those bikes. One little twitch of the finger on the front brake at the wrong moment and you’re down, there is so much pressure on it. For me, finishing the race was more of a release for me, whether I had won or lost. It was a big relief for me, I did my job. That aspect I didn’t really miss, but I did miss working with the team, qualifying and feeling pretty much as good as you could do was a fantastic feeling for me".
"I stopped being a test rider for Honda because the young gun coming through didn't want me around"
Stoner had been a test rider for a few years.
"I tried with Honda at the beginning, but kind of got squeezed out a bit by the young gun coming through, he didn’t want me around," Casey confessed and his words seem to be a clear reference to Marc Marquez.
Then it was Ducati's turn…
"We tried this with Ducati as well but couldn’t come to an agreement, and we had to step aside from that role. I felt I couldn't give the team what I wanted to. I knew what the riders wanted, we worked really well together but unfortunately riders don’t always get the say. With some of the manufacturers, they say data and what they believe is the correct direction and it doesn’t always site well with the riders. It was a constant slog to get the right things changed on the bike and move forward, it was hard work and being in Australia it was a little bit difficult, so I sort of stepped back from that role".
"I think I still have a lot to give to MotoGP"
This does not mean that Stoner has definitively closed the doors to the MotoGP world championship…
“I still think I have a lot to give to our sport and that I could help in some aspects, outside of the box and have a different view of things. I am certainly not going to go in and make solutions, etc. but I know what needs to be done to win races. At the same time I might have to wait for this chronic fatigue to pass, so currently I’m trying to put all my efforts into this and in my family, then we’ll see what the future holds. To be honest, I would like to be involved in MotoGP a bit more. "
"Miller has deserved the factory Ducati, I’ve been impressed with the way he’s moved forward"
Casey also commented on Miller's arrival in the official Ducati team.
"I don't know if I have any advice. Jack has really matured over these last years and I have been impressed with the way he’s structured himself and moving forward, you can see it in the results, in the way he works, in his focus and motivation. Everything seems to be growing year by year, the results have been really consistent. I’d still like to see him work better with the harder tyres, knowing that you don’t have to worry about that end-of-race drop-off. I think he's going to do a great job and Ducati has made the right choice, it’s just we have to see which Ducati rider will be his teammate. Jack has fully deserved this opportunity; he will have to understand that the factory bike is not going to be a massive step above what he’s already riding but what will be different is the support he’s going to get”.
"No one can compete with what Mick Doohan has done"
Speaking of Australians, he has one in particular in his heart….
"I started when I was 4 years old and from 5 or 6 years old it was Mick Doohan who was my idol from that age. There is no one who can compete with what he’s done, considering all his operations, then comeback from those injuries then have a run of success like him. He is the GOAT in my eyes, his determination has kept me going over the years.”
As far as a dream motorcycle is concerned, his preference goes to the Honda…
"In terms of racing bikes, the 2012 Honda with the first version of the Bridgestone, before they changed them at the start of the season, was probably the ultimate motorcycle. I was really at one with it, the way it turned, it had grip and was comfortable and then after the first test tests they changed the tyre options and we had nothing but chatter for the rest of the year and struggled with it. Before it was the ultimate bike that I’d ever ridden. "
"Phillip Island? I didn't enjoy the circuit at first"
Stoner could not fail to talk about Phillip Island, the track on which he was the undisputed king with 6 consecutive victories from 2007 to 2012. What was his secret?
“I am not really sure what it was, because in my early years to be honest I didn't enjoy the circuit - he confessed with a smile - I had heard all these great things, but I’d never raced there before I left Australia. Each year after that I really kind of struggled and didn’t enjoy it. But when you ride a MotoGP around the place it starts getting fun. You try and create grip wherever you can, everything came back to me from my dirt track days, so when I went there in MotoGP, I found a new love for it”.
For him it was a magical place: in 2009 he returned to winning there after the long stop due to health problems.
"That season was a struggle for us because we’d had so many issues early in the season, I don’t think I’d trained before Phillip Island for 8 months or so - he remembered – At Portugal they found out that I was lactose intolerant, but from then on day by day I felt better. I was not necessarily confident for Phillip Island, I still hadn’t trained a lot and spent a lot of time off the bike, it was an incredible feeling just to be able to get back to the top, hold Valentino off for the win again and make it a ‘threepeat’ at the time".
Perhaps the most special win was that in 2011, when Casey won the title after Lorenzo injured himself in the warm-up…
"That probably made it harder for me to be honest - he said – it’s never a way you want to win a championship. We knew we had the pace to win in the dry, but it when it starts raining on slick tyres it is not fun and that race was just horrible. Up through Lukey, it was just like a wall of water, plenty of people fell. Two or three laps to go I hit that wall of water and nearly threw it away at the last corner. I held on, won the championship and to have so many things line up on the same day, my birthday, fifth in the row, won the title, home GP, it was something special ".