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RedDog
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   Posted 1/2/2012 8:06 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Good AMA Soup story:
Top MotoGP Stories of 2011 # 3: Stoner Returns Honda To MotoGP Pinnacle
by staff
Monday, January 02, 2012

Stoner--white hot and ready for a fight.
Casey Stoner waltzed to the 2011 MotoGP World Championship, beating Jorge Lorenzo by 90 points—a margin of nearly four races. Many tipped the union of Stoner and Repsol Honda that debuted in 2011 as a potent combination. But an 800cc steamroller that made the reigning World Champion look mortal and the supernova of the sport look downright silly?

In retrospect, we shouldn't have been surprised.

Stoner and Honda mixed a lethal potion due to one shared bond: Both were pissed off as hell and weren't going to suffer fools—or losing—anymore. Mix them together, and one incredibly fast ball of hate was created, one that never stopped rolling downhill and crushing everything in its path from the opening Grand Prix at Qatar.

Honda's last MotoGP riders' championship came at the hands of American Nick Hayden in 2006—the last year of the 990cc era. The much-maligned 800cc formula was ending after the 2011 season, and there was no way a company with as much racing pride and history as Honda would tolerate being shut out for an entire technical generation of the sport.

So Honda went balls-out for glory in 2011, signing Stoner, Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso for a three-bike attack from Repsol Honda and keeping Marco Simoncelli on a factory bike with the satellite Gresini team. The RC212V was devastating in its speed and precision from the very first preseason test and never let up.

Honda factory bikes won 13 of the 17 Grands Prix in 2011, and Honda coasted to the Manufacturers Championship by 80 points over Yamaha.

Stoner won his first World Championship and 23 races during his four-year tenure with Ducati from 2007-10. But he never felt he commanded enough respect both inside and outside the Ducati garage.

Some riders, media and fans thought Stoner simply rode the superb grunt of the Desmosedici engine and Bridgestone tires on a magic carpet cruise to 10 victories and the world title in 2007. Selected paddock wags perpetuated this myth for the next three years even though Stoner won 13 more races on the Ducati between 2008-10.

But the relationship between Ducati Corse and the Australian was broken beyond repair in 2009. Stoner missed three summer races with a mystery illness that raised whispers within his team of questionable commitment before being diagnosed as a severe case of lactose intolerance.

So Stoner was ready to burn the field to the ground when he lined up on an RC212V for the first time last April at Qatar. He then torched his rivals all season in a merciless display that would have made even General William Tecumseh Sherman look for a fire extinguisher in Atlanta in 1865.

Stoner won 10 races and 12 poles and finished the season with 350 points. He finished off the podium only once, when he was taken out by a clumsy, desperate passing attempt by Valentino Rossi at Jerez. He became the only rider to win a world title with two different manufacturers during the 800cc era.

Hayden, Andrea Dovizioso and others have found themselves mired in the politics of the "Spanish armada" in and around Repsol Honda--that being the actions and motivations of Alberto Puig, Dani Pedrosa and team sponsor Repsol, who some say, along with series organizer Dorna, would like nothing more than to see Dani Pedrosa as world champion. Stoner took a new approach to the Puig/Pedrosa faction--he simply ignored them and set a blazing path so fast Pedrosa had no chance to follow.

While those numbers and facts are impressive, perhaps the most important digits for Stoner in 2011 were zero and one. Those were the number of victories and podium finishes that Rossi recorded in his first season with Ducati, a dream pairing that was expected to deliver diamonds and instead produced trinkets that couldn't even be peddled on QVC.

That was the truest vindication for Stoner. He raised his index finger in triumph at Valencia as World Champion, but a reversed middle finger flashed toward the world may have been the most accurate reflection of the white-hot motivation that fueled Stoner and Honda in 2011.


RedDog
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RedDog
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   Posted 1/2/2012 8:13 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
More Soup, in the aftermath and somebody else whines too ...

Just ask anyone who crossed Mick Doohan or Mat Mladin: Hell hath no fury like a spiteful Aussie.

Casey Stoner showed the same Down Under venom during the holiday season, taking special delight in ruling MotoGP in his first season with Repsol Honda while supernova Valentino Rossi was winless for Ducati a year after Stoner won three races on the Desmosedici.

After he announced his decision to leave Yamaha for Ducati, Rossi criticized Stoner by saying it was impossible to measure the quality of the Desmosedici GP10 because Stoner wasn't pushing it hard enough. Rossi's longtime crew chief, Jerry Burgess, also said he could fix Ducati's persistent front-end troubles in 80 seconds.

Fast-forward one year. Rossi was winless for the first time in his 16-year Grand Prix career. And the unpredictable front end of the various flavors of GP11 confounded Burgess and the entire Ducati garage all season.

"The whole thing with Valentino saying I hadn't been pushing hard enough was nothing new," Stoner said. "At one stage, it was the Ducati was the best bike on the grid, and I had the best tires and everything else. This talk followed me and plagued me throughout my time at Ducati until Valentino got on the bike and showed that nothing different happened to when (Marco) Melandri got on the bike or Nicky (Hayden) got on it.

"I knew that when he got on the bike he was not going to be any faster than me. I was 100 percent sure of that. He complained about his shoulder injury at the start of the season, but he got his best result with his shoulder injury. As soon as his shoulder injury went, he got worse. The excuses didn't stop until the end of the season when they just had to start admitting that they didn't know what direction to go.

"The reason this championship does taste sweet has a lot to do with Valentino and Jerry and the criticism they gave us that we couldn't develop a bike and didn't know what we were doing. Clearly they are 10 times more confused than we ever were about what direction to go in."


RedDog
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Richard47
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   Posted 1/3/2012 2:45 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
I can't say that I ever thought Stoner wasn't pushing the bike hard, it looked like he was riding the hell out of it to me and very close to falling off at times. He remains the only rider to have consistently won on the Ducati, and you can't take that away from him.


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Racer1
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   Posted 1/3/2012 7:25 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
There's a lot I agree with in this article - but a lot of spin also... an "incredibly fast ball of hate"? C'mon - that's just silly - sure there's motivation in wanting to prove your critics wrong, but that kind of hyperbole is beneath any responsible journalist.

No-one can, or should, take anything away from Stoner - his record speaks for itself, he had a good record with Ducati and last season he was beyond dominant - superb. Rossi and Burgess have egg on their faces for sure - although it's worth noting that Rossi's lap times on the Ducati were faster than Stoners on the Ducati the year before, but the level of improvement was nowhere near that of the Honda juggernaut as it made sure it would not end the 800cc era without a championship.

Ducati essentially spent the 2011 testing for the 1000cc era starting this year - they never mounted a proper challenge in 2011. The writing was on the wall after winter testing, and they didn't have the pockets to properly compete in the last 800cc season and also prepare for the next era. However, clearly they are in disarray and I doubt 2012 will be much different with regard to manufacturers dominance and positions.

No-one I know thought Stoner was doing anything other than riding the wheels off the Ducati - that was obvious to everyone (including Rossi, who was clearly needling Stoner to get under his skin - it apparently worked, although provided motivation instead of merely frustration).

The bottom line is that to beat Rossi's record, Stoner has to win every championship through 2019... that's possible, unlikely but possible. He is absolutely the dominant force right now and the four stroke, electronic era suits his riding style to a T - he has two championships so far, but he's got a way to go to joins the legends quite yet.
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RedDog
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   Posted 1/3/2012 8:16 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
In our off season, I love reading stories like these, stories from the other side and not always the most popular one.

Unless Rossi/Burgess can get the Ducati going, their 80 second fix is obviously extended (!), Stoner will have another hay-year in 2012.
And poor Hayden, now with a broken shoulder due to some play at home, will be in the shadow of Team Rossi, again. Even Rossi's
mental tactics have not worked on Stoner. I guess it's in his name.

Got to find some more soup and spice ...

Happy New Racing Year, Buddies!


RedDog
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el SID
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   Posted 1/3/2012 3:18 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
its an opinion,for sure. I dont know about the ball of hate thingy. Why Stoner and press are so worried about Rossi and what he said is a bit much. If I were stoner I would be worried more about the future rising stars and the credibility of dorna and its series than anything else. Furthermore, I believe in a different thread racer or someone posted a very clear statement that really sets the standard for me. Rossi has won WORLD titles in every class he has raced. 125, 250, 500, 990,800.
that right there says it all. Stoner is a talented rider, and to his credit has done some magical things. But winning a title on clearly the best bike, doesnt make him a great. Win a bunch more, then we can talk about greatness.
Mick Doohan is a great. For awhile there he had no equal. But he was on a Honda. And back then it was clearly the best bike. But he is a great. Just not the GOAT. I do wonder about Stoner being a father, it could very well slow him down. Its hard to focus with babies in the mix. Harder still when you arent around to watch them grow. So we will see how he develops into a new role.


Best bike out is the one Im on,sod the rest lmao
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1996 honda vfr
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1998 suzuki rm 125 I have broken her back. I feel guilty. she may have to be laid to rest.

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thesoapster
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   Posted 1/3/2012 9:17 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Stoner is indeed a talented rider, but I'm sorry, it was obvious to observers that Honda's bike was best. And why not? They have the most money out of everyone by far to throw into R&D. Pair highly capable riders with that and it's very hard to beat. Stoner did win once on Ducati, but he spent an awful lot of time crashing, too. He rides to the edge, and Ducati is still trying to improve their design. I don't think Rossi's decline in points is due just to prior injury. He knew the M1 intimately (he and his crew made it what it is).
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RedDog
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   Posted 1/3/2012 9:53 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Well Burgess did not fix the Ducati in 80 seconds, that was comical though the whole Burgess/Rossi Ducati season was did not match up to their bragging.
And as Stoner, I think that was almost funny.


RedDog
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thesoapster
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   Posted 1/4/2012 7:21 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
The only thing I can fathom is that Ducati gave them less control. It's partially why Rossi chose Yamaha when he left Honda. He liked their open attitude. They let him pick the engine design and they listened to him. He said when he made the switch, though he would have liked to go for Ducati, the vibe he got from them was too much like Honda at that time. Basically, engineers design the bike, make the rider adapt. Never adapt the bike to the rider. Yamaha was in trouble when Rossi went to them, but Rossi won his first season with them (and of course several after).

The frameless design didn't end up working out for Ducati. I hope they abandoned it for their sake with the new liter class bike.
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