2012 Le Mans MotoGP Thursday Round Up: On Casey Stoner's Retirement

It is hard to upstage Valentino Rossi. It takes something large, significant, to take the limelight away from the nine-time World Champion, and the man who has been the charismatic heart of MotoGP for the best part of 15 years. To do that, you have to "Go big or go home," as British road racer Guy Martin likes to put it.

At Le Mans, Casey Stoner upstaged Rossi. The press conference - usually a rather staid affair, with the usual niceties about the track, each rider's chances at the circuit and a couple of witticisms - started unusually, with Nick Harris, the veteran commentator who leads the official press conferences, saying that Stoner would like to make a statement to the press. Stoner then proceeded to press the big red button that set Twitter, the internet and newswires ablaze. In the process, he did not so much ignite the 2013 MotoGP Silly Season, as douse it in liquid oxygen and set a flame thrower to it.

Stoner's announcement that he will retire at the end of this season has been covered in depth just about everywhere - see transcripts of his statement to the press here, and his detailed responses to questions here - but the question is, what happened to the Australian's denials exactly two weeks ago at Estoril of the stories that emerged in the Spanish press? Was the report in Solo Moto correct, and had Stoner already decided to retire at Jerez, or was Stoner being truthful when he denied any decision had been made. Piecing together the puzzle of what happened over the past few weeks, the following picture emerges.

At Jerez, according to the Spanish magazine Solo Moto, Stoner told HRC that he intended to retire at the end of the 2012 season. At Estoril, Stoner denied this, saying to the journalist who wrote the Solo Moto story "Don't read what you publish". The two stories appear to be incompatible, but was there any smoke without fire? What seems to have happened is that Stoner had a conversation with HRC in which he raised the possibility of retirement, and said he was considering it as a serious option. Honda, meanwhile, was trying to get Stoner to sign a two-year deal, though Stoner was only prepared to consider signing on for a single season.

In the week after Jerez, the story of Stoner's retirement appeared in Solo Moto, and at Estoril, there was much speculation as to who could have been the source of the story. The rumors centered on Livio Suppo as being involved in the leak - though they remained rumors, with nothing to substantiate them. Certainly, Suppo would have been privy to any such conversations about retirement, and given his close relationship with the Australian, would surely have been among the first to have been told by Stoner. But why leak such news to the press, especially if Stoner's decision was not yet final?

Presumably - and this is merely conjecture, with no chance of any confirmation ever being obtained until all this has long since blown over - someone in HRC decided to leak the news in an attempt to pressure Stoner into making a decision. The hope must have been that by forcing the Australian to issue a denial, he would be forced to think seriously about the consequences of retiring, and that that prospect would have brought him back into the fold.

That appears to have backfired, badly. The media storm which it unleashed merely reminded Stoner of all of the things he hated about MotoGP - everything except the actual racing, basically - and made his decision final. At Le Mans, he made his announcement, and the rest is history.

His answers to the questions put to him by journalists revealed the underlying disappointment Stoner has faced in MotoGP. His talent was immediately obvious once he climbed aboard a MotoGP bike in 2006. After missing most of the preseason due to surgery, he finished 6th in the season opener at Jerez, then qualified on pole at Qatar, and finished on the podium at Istanbul. On the lowly satellite LCR Honda, last in the queue for parts from Honda, and last in the queue for tires from Michelin, Stoner never finished worse than 8th, and got close to the podium a couple more times. But the Michelins he was using were unpredictable, and he found himself picking his bike out of the gravel on too many occasions in his first year, and gaining a reputation as a crasher. The reaction to his transformation into a race winner and World Champion once he switched to Ducati was one of incredulity, rather than the accolades that he himself - quite rightly - had expected. It was put down to the bike, not his ability.

In 2008, things got worse, when Stoner lost the title to Valentino Rossi again. In one of the greatest races of the last decade, Rossi beat Stoner at Laguna Seca by using all of the guile at his disposal to get ahead and disrupt the Australian's race. In the end, Stoner ran wide at the final corner, eventually toppling over in the gravel, and the race was lost. Later, Rossi's crew chief Jeremy Burgess would tell me that Stoner lost that race because he "didn't have a plan B." With crashes in the races that followed, at Brno and Misano, the press and the fans wrote Stoner off as being mentally fragile, as crumbling at the first sign of pressure. Once Rossi climbed aboard the Ducati, he would discover the reason why there was no plan B: if you didn't ride the bike as hard as possible from the off, the tires would cease to grip.

The events of 2009 merely confirmed the fans' and the media's perception of Stoner. After he decided to sit out three races in the middle of the season to find a diagnosis for the problems of extreme fatigue which had been troubling him since the beginning of the year, he was once again labeled as mentally weak, with reports of poor dietary habits and a strange approach to exercise causing his problems. Rumors that he would retire surfaced for the first time, and even though Stoner explained upon his return at Estoril that he had been diagnosed with and treated for late onset lactose intolerance, media reports continued to speak of his "mystery illness". Another dismal start to 2010, where Stoner kept losing the front end of the Ducati Desmosedici, reaffirmed his reputation as a crasher in the minds of the fans, despite the Australian going on to win three of the last six races once his crew, led by Cristian Gabarrini, found a solution to his problems at Aragon.

A crasher. Mentally weak. Not a serious racer. The man who only won the 2007 title because he had the best bike. And a rider who relied solely on traction control to be fast. That was Casey Stoner's reputation at the end of 2010.

Valencia, November 2010. Casey Stoner steps onto the Honda and devastates the field on his very first time out on the bike, with only Jorge Lorenzo capable of matching his times. Meanwhile, Valentino Rossi, the man who was believed to have single-handedly transformed the Yamaha from a basket case to championship winner, who had reaffirmed the belief that the rider is far more important than the bike, stepped onto the bike that Stoner had left behind and was nowhere. An embarrassment; 15th position, 1.749 seconds off the pace.

At last, Stoner's reputation could be placed in some perspective. Rossi - a rider renowned for not crashing - became a regular visitor to the gravel trap. The reputation of being a crasher seemed to belong more to the bike than to Stoner. Ducati went nowhere with Rossi aboard, with the Italian himself conceding that the only way to go fast on the bike was to sail right at the limit of the machine, saving crashes several times a lap, on every lap. He was asked the same question over and over again, and he gave the same answer every time: "Casey rode this bike in a very special way. I cannot ride it like this."

Surely it was just a matter of time before Stoner crumbled under the pressure, then? In 2011, Casey Stoner finished off the podium just once, when he got taken out in an overly ambitious attempted pass by Valentino Rossi at a damp Jerez, spawning a host of jokes about how Stoner, despite having switched to Honda, was still being plagued by front end problems on the Ducati. But despite Stoner's utter dominance of 2011, his resilience, his fortitude, his ability to win when possible while settling for a podium when he couldn't, his detractors once again claimed that Stoner had only won because he was on a vastly superior bike.

Five years of that treatment have taken their toll on Casey Stoner. He still loves riding, and the ambition and desire to compete still burns within him, but he is tired of dealing with all of the crap that surrounds racing in MotoGP, while the work gets ever harder. At Estoril, I asked him if it was the riding or the racing that he enjoyed. His reply was extremely informative: "The riding in this championship, it's not fun. You're out there risking your arse every lap, trying things on the bike that aren't really great, but you have to try them, and you have got to go out there and test all these things that you don't really want to test and go out in conditions that you don't really want to be out in. So a lot of the time, riding isn't fun. And this year, conditions haven't been good for us, so it hasn't been any part of fun. So the racing is the only thing that really gets you going. I still enjoy my racing, but unfortunately, racing is the smallest part of the job, and that's disappointing. The most important part in one aspect is the thing we do the least. It doesn't matter if you're a good racer, you've got to do all this other stuff, and that's the part that ruins it for me. "

And why does he hate his media commitments quite so vehemently? The truth is that Casey Stoner was never forgiven for the cardinal sin of beating Valentino Rossi in a straight fight. Where Yamaha, Rossi and Michelin made so many obvious mistakes in 2006, allowing Nicky Hayden to become World Champion - a title Hayden fully deserved, because of the work he and his team, led by Pete Benson, put in - that Hayden's title was grudgingly accepted by the fans, but when Stoner beat the World's Favorite Rider, there were no easy excuses. Looking back, though the Ducati GP7 was clearly the most powerful bike, it was not necessarily the best. Over the years that followed, the true shape that Ducati in was revealed: though the custom-made Bridgestones helped Ducati in the early years, once the spec tire was introduced, they struggled, with Marco Melandri in 2008 and Valentino Rossi in 2011 providing the real measure of the bike's competitiveness. Casey Stoner's raw talent - greater than any seen on track since Freddie Spencer, or maybe even Kenny Roberts - was the only thing that had made that bike competitive, and without Stoner, Ducati were lost.

Stoner's legacy will not outshine Valentino Rossi's, though I would argue that his talent does. Rossi is the most important rider ever to compete in MotoGP, because of the way he raised the profile of the sport, and the way he realized that motorcycle racing at this level is just as much entertainment as it is sport. While Rossi toyed with his competition - if you do not believe this is the case, go back and watch Phillip Island in 2003, when the Italian dropped his pace by seven tenths of a second a lap to compensate for a time penalty imposed for overtaking under a yellow flag - Stoner could not on the Ducati, and dared not on the Honda, when up against Jorge Lorenzo. If Stoner had no Plan B on the Ducati, Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa would not allow him a plan B on the Honda. The game had changed, probably in 2009 once Lorenzo had proved himself competitive. Now, all races were done flat out, any mistake punished mercilessly, any ground lost never to be made up again. So Valentino Rossi will go into the record books as a candidate for the greatest of all time, especially once you look at his numbers. But anyone who saw Casey Stoner ride knew they were seeing something very special indeed. His record will not reflect his ability, but that, too, is typical of Stoner: not in it for records, not in it for the money, only in it to win as many races as possible while he is still having fun. The fun is now gone.

It is easy to imagine that if things had gone slightly differently, Stoner may not have retired after all. If the weather had been better in the early part of the season for the past couple of years, Stoner may have enjoyed the riding just as much as the racing, and decided to stay. If the leak at HRC had caused Stoner to think about missing the riding, instead of missing everything that wasn't riding, he may have decided to stay. If it was not Valentino Rossi he had beaten, but someone else, the fans and media may have appreciated him for the riding genius he was, rather than the man who rained on Rossi's parade, and Stoner may have decided to stay. But that's not how it happened. Once again, Harold McMillan's greatest fear ("Events, dear boy, events") determines the course of history, and we lose an astounding talent.

It was fitting that his retirement should have upstaged Valentino Rossi, the bitterest rival he has faced in his years in MotoGP. Rossi had come to the press conference to clear up the reports that he, too, was considering retiring, and had hoped to make a splash with the announcement that he intends to spend two more years in MotoGP. But Stoner put a stop to that with his retirement bombshell.

Casey Stoner went big, and at the end of the year, he's going home.

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Its a shame really but i feel that in years to come stoner will be forgotten by many yet remembered by a few who will say, "did you ever see that kid stoner ride, now that was something special."

Apart from that, however, i don't think stoner will be sorely missed by the paddock, or certainly from the racing side of things. At the moment Stoner represents a sort of Hurdle for many of the riders, in the sense that, "first i have to beat the rest of the field, and then there's stoner." Certainly from my viewpoint, Rossi has always known he can beat every guy on that grid on equal machinery, apart from stoner. The point is that even if Rossi finally got to grips with the Ducati, with Stoner still riding he would still know in the back of his mind that he's is the slower rider, something which has never plagued Rossi's mind in the past.

I actually think that when stoner is gone, viewing figures will rise, the pendulum will swing back to Europe with Italian and Spanish riders once again in the spotlight, Particularly the likes or Marquez and Iannone. Rossi will have a resurgence in confidence and the field will be much more evenly balanced. So, in short, i think stoner will be missed, until the flag drops in Qatar 2013 and then he will fade away into the back of peoples minds.

Speculation it may be but stoner's departure may just be what motogp needed, and in a series which is losing its fastest, most talented rider that's quite a difficult thing to have to admit...

Well said, I'm of that belief as well, sad but true. I think we are looking at a shake up here that could bring back a lot interest and some old battles. Rossi and Lorenzo maybe...

Doohan will likely be remembered as the greatest when anyone talks of Australian riders, Stoner will sadly be remembered as a super-talented rider but probably wont stick in peoples memories. As unfortunate as that is given his unique ability.

The competition for top dog tightens with Stoner out of the competition.
Much as I suspect he doesn't much care for the Dorna version of GP racing, I think he's actually gifted them a leg-up when the championship has been suffering too much from a one-horse race syndrome.

If only he'd been on a Honda in the Ducati years, who knows how many championships he'd have retired with.

As I've said elsewhere - the fastest guy I have seen in the last 10 years. Not the most successful 'racer', but certainly the fastest.
Mind you, the kid could race when he needed to - viz a vis the balls-out move overtaking Jorge on the outside over the crest at Laguna Seca. That was truly mighty.

that racing is advertising / PR.

I am sure he'd be great to hang out with, no question an awesome talent. But PR is very very much a part of racing. We all have things with our respective jobs that we hate - but we do them. For Casey, in my eye's, he's never seen it that way.

I will miss his raw talent - but his attitude, at least the way the media portrays him makes it hard to really love the guy.

We put up with them because we have to. If I had his money I'd retire to a beautiful warm country, where I wouldn't have to deal with the idiots I see here every day.

That the fact that racing is advertising/PR, and Stoner's realisation of this, is EXACTLY what caused him to quit.

Also, the media's portrayal of him very nearly amounts to character assassination. Every great thing he did was met with skepticism, and attributed to some other factor. Every ill fate he was met with, was portrayed as his own fault, whilst being portrayed as a spoiled child who blamed everyone but himself (Moaner, anyone?). Commentators and journalists called him fragile and a crasher when things didn't go his way, while disregarding any explanation he actually gave. Every bike he did well on was claimed superior, while disregarding performances of similarly equipped riders.

I think after 5 years of having your legitimacy questioned, by the very people you are trying to share your gift with, enough is enough. Like any relationship, he's fed up with the ingratitude, and is off to for greener pastures. MotoGP should be ashamed of the vilification they have allowed of all Valentino Rossi's opponents, Biaggi, Gibernau, Stoner, and Lorenzo. I thought they were fumbling with the technical details, it seems they have been fumbling the media details too.

It seems like dark days for MotoGP...

Stoner has no legitimacy left to prove. Last year he silenced most of his critics and another championship this year would leave no unanswered questions. I actually think that the media and the fans were slowly warming to stoners honest and no nonsense aproach. So, i think its quite sad that hes bringing up media criticism from 2007 (ducati) and 2009 (illness) as reasons for him to leave. I guess it just shows that whilst he seems invincible on a bike he's actually an incredibly fragile individual when it comes to what people think of him, especially where the whole media circus is concerned.

I also completely disagree with the whole 'dark days for motogp' idea. It would have been dark days for motogp had stoner carried on for 3 more years and decimated the field, alienating casual viewers across the world, particularly in italy and spain. There are plenty of people out there who are hungry for stoners seat, and if he doesn't want it then fine, someone else will take his place and the championship will move on. It's a shame Simoncelli is no longer with us to take his seat, but again, things happen and the championship moves on.

As Top Alien, Alienating would be his speciality. Shall we call him the Alienator?

Seriously though, the fact is; he's proved his legitimacy on track, it can no longer be questioned by reasonable human beings. Now its the legitimacy of his personality in question, and to me it seems that the media/fanbase is actively seeking reasons to alienate Stoner (for whatever reason), not the other way around.

I find it frustrating that so many members of the press and public utterly refuse to let go of this bone...

What exactly is happening when the flag drops at Qatar? I doubt Honda or Yamaha are going back to Rossi. So natural progression will take place. Jorge will fill top spot, Dani if uninjured will be on his heels and Ben, Cal, Stefan and Andrea will battle for best of the rest. Same old same old. The only difference will be, some of the best and most amazing riding in the series will be missing.

Nobody is coming to make the series amazing and unpredictable in 2013. Good chance the series will be semi-stagnant up until 2015. But MotoGP might be a totally different series by then.

What MotoGP really needs is for DORNA to retire...or maybe somebody will fire them, isn't that what happens when you give bad job performance?

PaddyCDRZ. He'll be remembered by the people that love the sport as a great talent. People with a passing interest won't recall him in a couple of years.

Yes, it's a shame we've lost such a talent, but as I've said in another thread on here. I don't think he'll be missed as a personality. But then again, as he's said, he's not there to be a personality, he's there to be a racer. Unfortunately, you need to be both in this day and ages.

As much as I hate that he is leaving, you can't say that the way he's doing it is out of character.
He's always run his own race, given no quarter and asked for none himself. He's never raced for the fans' entertainment or protected the factories' reputation, he's done it for himself -- taking what he wants in brutal, unreserved fashion. He bends the bike to his will and checks out as soon as he can. In a way, that's exactly what he is doing with this retirement.
He won't be a racer grown long in the tooth, hanging around for one last win, circulating at the back of the pack past his prime. He won't be used up by the series, and spit out as a has-been. Instead he is the one that has used and abused the series by destroying the reputation of it's golden boy, violently snatching his championships, saying whatever he thinks, and leaving a gaping hole when he retires with a big "F*** you" to all the circus that never gave him the recognition he deserves.
I for one have come to really respect and appreciate Stoner. He is currently my favorite GP racer, and I will sorely miss him and his no bull$#!+ style.
They say you never know what you have until it's gone, and I think everyone will realize how true this is come the 2013 championship, when they have to decide who to root for and the only viable choices are Lorenzo and Pedrosa. No thanks...

It will be interesting next year. Who will take the battle to Lorenzo? Dani? We are likely to find that it will the same as this year, apart from on two riders out front.

Lorenzo is a perfect rider, his lines are perfect, his bike is perfect, his timing is perfect. If you were given an instruction manual, he is the example. Stoner has taken to perfection with a sledge hammer. He rides like the bike like it is a rodeo bull.

I'm glad I've been able to watch him, because as others have said, he'll pass into folds of someone with an unremarkable career. Not as one of the most talented riders ever.

Maybe the wrong word. Statistically not the best, but yes it is a remarkable career that may be hidden statistically in those who have 'only' three (two) or less world champions.

Another excelent artical if only people would give credit where credit is due casey might not have to of defended himself so much when attacked by others

One look at MotoGP.com right now will reaffirm why the kid is walking away.

His retirement is a small blip in the news column. The main page is covered in Valentino. The main story is his Q&A session.

It's a sad day for the sport, and it will be even sadder when they grid up next year and realise that grid numbers might be up, but the talent dropped significantly overnight.

As a fan of the sport I am deeply saddened by the news.

As a Casey Stoner fan I am proud of him.

Can you blame them? This wasn't a glorious swan song good bye. This was an 'i'm tired of this crap, this org, these people so i'm taking my toys and going home' kind of F*** YOU!

That's not something I would have highlighted either.

Well that's just another great example to show how out of touch MotoGP has become. The fans are all talking about Stoner and want to know more info about that - but the MotoGP.com website isn't delivering...

And I don't want to sound like I'm bashing MotoGP, because Casey also had a valid point there - we should realise the championship we have before it is gone. But maybe today's announcement will make fans think, as well as Dorna and MotoGP.

The MotoGP.com website is a joke. The content is basically all fluff, and any meaty stuff you have to pay to see it. I never even bother with it and prefer to get my fix at this site. Thanks David!

I noticed the fact that Rossi's interview was the main feature, buts is revolving header section with 3 or 4 stories, one of which was about Stoner's retirement.

I am not renewing my Motogp subscription next year. Like many things Dorna did in recent years - their MotoGP Live Experience App is absolutely pathetic and went backwards in terms of features in comparison to the 2011 version.

Nice work Livio Suppo, your trash politics has left us with less time to marvel at the talent that is Casey Stoner. Reading the words from Casey I knew there was something that didn't quiet add up and I do believe he is missing piece to the puzzle.

Livio has treat him like a pawn when he should have been treating him like the King. Could someone tell me where Livio would be without Casey today. Livio you get what you deserve and it is the media and fanns of not only Casey but motogp in general that should be all pointing their finger at YOU.

Yes yes I know these are harsh words (and obviously Im no wordsmith) but it is just my opinion that Casey has been Squeezed by Suppo. Best of luck Casey with your family and next chapter.


As far as I can gather from the article, it is only conjecture that Suppo was the source of the leak so you're kind of jumping the gun by trashing him. At any rate, you may remember that Suppo left Ducati and went to Honda and was instrumental in getting Stoner over there so you could well ask where Stoner would be without Suppo.

of the leak, I find it hard to believe that he did it for the 'wrong' reasons'. I suggest it is far more likely that Stoner had discussed this with Suppo and was finding it very hard to work out how to announce it without seeming to drop everybody he cares for - his team and HRC particularly - in the lurch.

I CAN see Suppo, knowing Stoner as well as he does, accepting the finality of the decision and trying, perhaps slightly misguidedly, to make the path easier for him. Very few managers ever get the chance to work with the Stoners of the world, and doing that with two different factories to success in their first year with the guy is surely almost unique? Even Burgess/Rossi only managed a WC first year out with the change of factories once!

It was Suppo who got Stoner into the Ducati fold, and arguably at least Suppo who got Stoner to HRC (though that would have not been very difficult). Stoner rewarded Suppo's faith in him twice over in the best way possible. I have respect for Suppo and think he may well have felt that Stoner had repayed handsomely everything Suppo has done and that loyalty goes both ways. I very, very much doubt that if Suppo decides to drop into the Stoner farm in times to come, there'll be anything other than a hot steak on the BBQ and a cold beer awaiting him. And a hug from Adriana and the Pebble.

At the end of the day, Suppo/HRC have to have a rider signed for next year. The last thing you want is your top guy being wishy-washy on whether or not he will be around next year. Especially THIS year, when all the factory guys' contracts are up and deals being made mid season.

It's a shame he chose to leave, but leak or no leak, I don't think you can blame Livio for that.

It was only in an article a few weeks back that Livio himself stated when asked about re-signing Casey that it was stupid to push him or try and manipulate him as that usually just made him more determined to go in another direction.

From memory that was in reference to signing him for 2 years versus 1, but I doubt that Livio would be stupid enough to leak the info when he's quite happy to recognise the futility of it.

That said, people are forever doing stupid things... :-)

That was an excellent piece and fitting tribute David. Well done and thank you. Good luck CS and family.

Casey leaving is his choice and I don't understand why someone who pilots a 280HP MotoGP bike and cares so little about the press, is so concerned with what they have to say. Your results speak for you. If you don't like the press or what they have to say, don't read it or listen to it!

Very well said Brick. It's amazing to me that all of these people are sitting here pouting about how it's the fans and media's fault that stoners retiring. These guys get paid millions because of the fans and the media. And if it wasn't for the fans and the media Casey wouldn't be able to retire at the ripe old age of 26. It's all part of the game and if you want to retire so you can leave the public eye and spend quiet time with the family on the farm, then just say that. Don't sit there and whine about how your feelings have been hurt and then blast the organization and the fans who are responsible for everything that you have. These guys race around tracks at over 200mph putting their lives on the line, so why are you going to cry about what people say?Sounds like some high school drama to me. The funny thing is that his sensitivity and lack of appreciation for the sport as a whole is what will tarnish the memory of casey being one of the greatest riders of all time.

There is a cost/benefit to every scenario in life. Casey has had to, more often than not, deny false accusations about his health and racecraft. When Nicky won the title in ’06, motogp.com ran a background image of him on the site for the entire ‘07 season. Every article had a little picture of Nicky somewhere in the border. Nick’s a great guy and always a good sport for the media, but he never had to face the propaganda Casey has had to. I am nit-picking here, but from my own experiences in life, it’s never a good feeling to be under appreciated. Casey likely thought that if he kept performing that things would turn around. He did just that (for the past 5 years) and has been given no quarter. It takes a toll.

I can't believe I'm doing this but I too have to criticize Mr. Emmet's dime-store psycho-analysis. He's falling prey to the mainstream media trap of extrapolating his own world to that of a multi-million dollar salaried professional athlete. Stoner is a professional motorcycle racer. When he gets up in the morning he's not wondering about how he'll be able to fit a training ride in with taking the kids to school, or appeasing an impatient client's deadline. His world is solely focused on riding a MotoGP bike and everything that is required to give him an edge over his competitors.

I find it hard to believe that a thick-skinned Aussie really cares, or even reads half the crap that gets posted on MCN or any of the other chat forums where armchair experts have been questioning his lactose intolerance, or his dedication to racing, etc., etc. I'd be surprised if he even reads this site, as enlightened as most of the commenters seem to be (which I love BTW).

If he truly wants to be the best in the world, then that should be what matters, not what he's riding. They could make MotoGP riders compete on PW50 Yamaha's and he'd still smoke everyone, and that should be all that matters. Its being the best that drives a competitive athlete, not the tools.

To say that he is as fragile and sensitive emotionally to want to retire from the sport he currently dominates is a bit of stretch IMHO. Your comment in today's roundup says he has the mental ability to ignore the distractions this weekend:

Quote: "He had felt a little strange when he rode out of the garage in the morning, he told reporters, realizing that this was the last time he would ever ride these tracks, but thanks to the miracle of compartmentalization - a mental trick that all top sportspeople can perform, tucking away anything not related to the task at hand into a corner of their minds, and focusing their full attention on performing to the peak of their ability - he got on with the business of going very, very fast indeed."

I'm surprised you think he is unable to ignore the distractions the rest of the time, and that is those comments from the press and the paddock that have driven him to retire.

Quite frankly he comes across as a spoiled kid to me who doesn't seem to appreciates the charmed life he has, or the devine entity-given talent he has been able to hone and practice. The fact that he's one of the most talented motorcycle racers to have ever lived makes me even sadder.

I feel I might have been a bit harsh with my comment about Stoner seeming like a spoiled kid. He's simply never been able to mature as he's been living in a bubble since he was 14, or even well before that, so he has no idea how to deal with real world issues.

A further thought is that he really doesn't realize the power he holds in his grasp. He's the most talented motorcycle racer in the world, yet he acts like he's still the unloved underdog.

If he's truly that upset and disillusioned with what is happening to MotoGP why doesn't he do something about it and act like a leader?!

Kenny Roberts didn't like what he saw with 500GP back in the 70s/80s so he did something about it. Not for himself, but for all racers. The World Series failed, but it brought about major changes in how racers were treated and the kinds of safety measures that became mandatory for a track to be sanctioned.

If Stoner cared about anyone other than himself, he'd use his power as the reining World Champion (and likely to repeat as champion), and wield his power to facilitate change in MotoGP that he can live with, and that presumably would benefit all racers and the paying public.

If he does pack up his marbles and skulk away that will end up being his legacy in my eyes. He has an incredible opportunity here to do something (possibly) even more memorable than his achievements on the Ducati and now the Honda.

David, maybe you can put this question to him next chance you get? What changes would Stoner like to see in MotoGP and how would those changes benefit the sport?

Frankly, I think it's a bit rich of Stoner to criticize the media for complaining about how boring the racing is seeing as he used every opportunity he had at Indy last year to say how boring he found the track. This, after the owners of the track had spent a lot of money on track improvements and have been squarely behind trying to build the motogp profile in the USA. Also, the extent to which Stoner is actually aware of how things work in motogp is questionable.a few weeks ago he started mouthing off about rule changes etc and had to be corrected by some of the media pack about the different roles played byIRTA and the MSMA and Dorna. I would think you'd need to have your facts straight before you start complaining about how something works.

I'm not taking anything away from his huge talent but all I can say is that his attitude is not beyond reproach.

You could deal with the fact it's an extremely poor substitute for a race track and that none of the racers like it.
You are demonstrating exactly the immature behaviour that has driven him away from the sport, well done.

'Enjoy the CRT GP'

i trust you and the 12 people who liked that comment will not be watching from 2013 onwards then and you will be keeping up on stoner's tweets on how life is going on his farm instead.... no, of course you will. Stop being so negative, would you honestly rather have a championship with 12 prototype bikes.....

Good try, PaulG, to fit him up with another cheap suit. This sort of crap is part of the reason the guy is leaving. Some misinformed person sticks it to him without any facts..............
What he said in practice was:
“The track feels terrible, to be honest. It’s got to be one of the slipperiest tracks I’ve ever ridden on in my career. As soon as you hit the new tarmac, you run into some patches. And where the two tarmacs join, there seems to be some sort of grease in the middle."

“We saw a big improvement from the first session, but it’s still by no means in good condition. I have no idea why [the track is] so dirty and slippery. At the moment, it’s very, very dangerous.”

After the race which he won by nearly 5 seconds, he commented on the layout:
“It’s a circuit for me. I don’t get a kick out of it just because I win on it. Mugello [in Italy] is one of my favorite circuits, and I think I’ve won there once. I look at what quality the circuit has rather than just memories.

“People have to go and ride this track and then ride another one. Then, they will understand what I’m saying. They’ll go, ‘Oh, yeah, it’s not much fun.’ It’s not fast, it’s not flowing. It doesn’t connect together. Instead of the corners opening out, you’re just going slower and slower and slower.

“I’m not going to beat around the bush and say something is great when it isn’t. This facility could be unbelievable, with the history and everything. But, and this is just my opinion, I don’t enjoy riding [here] as much as I do a lot of other circuits.”

This was the quuote that got all the iconographers upset at Indy.
Where did he say it was boring???

Go read Toby Moody's report on another website for what he says Stoner said on numerous occasions over that weekend. Aside from that, how can you not see the hypocrisy in somebody complaining about the fact that other people have been complaining and presenting it as their reason for retiring?

Your notion that I, as fan of motogp, have in some way contributed to Stoner's decision to leave the sport because of my attitude is ridiculous. Maybe the solution would be for all of us who currently don't have the right attitude to all be sent off to some re-education camp.

What is absolutely clear is that Stoner is simply not cut out for what is asked of him in return for a multimillion dollar salary. The lad has got a lot of growing up to do.

Paul, parceling up someone else's opinions as facts is hardly good methodology.
If you want to assert you argument, provide the supporting evidence by citing your reference(sd). I've been good enough to provide Stoner's direct comments.
You are guilty of exactly the same claptrap that has been symptomatic of a lot of the reporting on Stoner. Whether it's ill-informed comments from people like Schwantz in regard to his illness, or the just plain spiteful rumour-mongering that has emanated from sections of the Italian media, well parceling a reporter's opinion up as facts falls into the same broad scope - people asserting innuendo and rumour as fact.
I'd have been thrown out of my Degree if I presented papers based on that approach.

And the notion that he is somehow deficient because he's prepared to put his own principles ahead of the money, well that assertion says more about you and your principles than it does about Stoner.

re: "I'm not taking anything away from his huge talent but all I can say is that his attitude is not beyond reproach."

i'll allow it. when one holds the #1 plate, it earns you the right to say what ya want. even better is when it's something that needs to be said.

Brilliant article and summation of Casey's decision and the events that have pushed him to it. I am definatly going to PI this year, i'd kick myself if i never watched him in person












Is it possible to be electronically deaf? I don't hear any shouting I just see someone who forgot to turn off caps lock

Is it possible to be electronically deaf? I don't hear any shouting I just see someone who forgot to turn off caps lock

Anyone who knows the character of Cletus Purcell, the creation of author James Lee Burke, and right hand man of Dave Robicheaux in many crime-story adventures in Iberia Parish, Louisiana, would expect Clete to be yelling. He's that kind of guy.
Welcome, Clete, and thanks for the JLB reference which I never expected to find here.
And apart from the yelling, the analysis was spot-on.

Hi sparky - I think your view of Stoner has been warped by the media, as you yourself almost come to admit with your comment: "his attitude, at least the way the media portrays him, makes it hard to really love the guy." And who do you think those 'media' were rooting for? Whose bullets do you think they were firing? Yep, the man who had most to lose with a title challenger like Stoner. So, let's undermine him, ridicule him, flat out lie about him. As Goebbels used to say: "if you are going to tell a lie, make it a big one, and tell it often." Another old chestnut is that Truth is the first casualty of War. And many European journalists engaged in the war on Casey Stoner. Today they will be all trite and say what a shame it all is, and tomorrow they will be drooling over Valentino - again. I am glad the shy Aussie made it to the top and showed everyone what FAST really looks like. He raised the stakes and got Jorge to show us all how good HE is too. A lot of what Stoner says about riding (testing etc.) is an echo of the comments made by Kenny Roberts when he retired at the end of 1983. KR was burned out by all the testing and the flying (because he chose not to base himself in Europe). There is another similarity with KR and Stoner. Both were 'outsiders' who came in and really shook up the European scene and KR was loathed by many journos for beating Barry Sheene - and for quite a few years. The Italian press took a shine to Roberts though, but at that stage there was no Italian consistently able to deal with Roberts, until Lucchinelli and Uncini. And thank you David Emmett for finally writing what needed to be written.

Now, any one of no less than 5 marques is perfectly capable of WSBK Wins – & that’s GREAT! But- in MotoGP – the highest peak & form of expression & talent for motorcycles – things are a bit dire. Numerous races have left the grid with 14 starters – points are paid down to 15th?
Much as I adore the technical crucible of MotoGP & rate the riders as the ultimate & undisputed crème de la crème of talent – at present only 2 x marques can win - the rest being nowhere & with some even missing in action – Suzuki & Kawasaki both going MIA in recent seasons. The last time the Factories walked away (because the FIM restricted them to 6 x speeds & 4 cylinders in the “ultra-exotic” 250cc Class – only MV Agusta remained - with the entirely predictable result of Giacomo Agostini winning GP’s by “minutes”! And we have here & now – “alleged fans” complaining these days of “processional or boring” racing. Where were they in 1969-1973/4 in the truly boring “Ago & Agusta shooting fish in a barrel years?

If only Dorna, could & would just stick to their own knitting as the “promoters” & NOT “technical overseers” – & curb their enthusiasm for meddling - by dreaming-up more Rounds around the World & trying to force the MSMA’s hands to turn the Senior Championship into some sort of dumbed-down, made for TV only “Circus”. I quote Carmelo Ezpeleta verbatim: “ to boost the spectacularity (sic) of the racing.” No, Carmelo – left alone, without constant fiddling & changes – racing will find its own “spectacularity” – it certainly doesn’t need “bean counters & rent-seekers” to keep messing-about on the technical side in the quest for profit return!
The Senior GP Class has been continuous since 1949 without any wholesale alteration to the Formula. But then, our friends from Spain become involved & BANG - no less than 1 x combustion form change & then 3 x expensive capacity changes in just 7 years?
Shouldn’t they, in conjunction with the FIM & the MSMA instead, bring back long-term stability & common sense! It’s entirely possible that the Big Japanese 4 would all compete - AND BMW & Aprilia too! We live in hope ... The FIM needs to grow some ‘cojones & revert to their true & proper role - to nurture, protect & respect the sport it administers – NOT sell-out it out to showbiz dilettantes ...
Ultimately; we might have to go back to far cheaper, (but easily as clean-burning & efficient as 4 x Strokes), big power& fat, flat torque curve 2 x Stroke engines to get there? The technology is already here right now with companies like Orbital at the forefront – hell, even Honda has proved it can do 2-Strokes beautifully when it wants to with the amazing & elegant EX-P2 etc – it just needs corporate-will & acceptance. In 2001, Honda even made GP “privateer bikes” in the form of the NSR 500V – a 500cc 2-Stroke V-Twin available for anyone who had the wherewithal to stump-up for one & go racing. With 135+ horsepower & weighing-in @ just 103 Kg - it only lacked the V4 NSR’s extra 50 horsepower & lost-out in traffic or corner exits & the longer straights. These pukka factory “production” bikes gave at least excellent experience @ peak level & maybe even a Podium at circuits that suited less power but still lightweight & nimble-handling. This was a forerunner of the CRT cost-excuse nonsense we have now – BUT with far cheaper purchase, parts & operating costs. The more things change – the more they stay the same – only sillier, eh?

The media is WRONG here in asserting that Stoner’s retirement is for “family reasons”. Do we sniff air redolent of a Dorna-directed charm & PR offensive to divert from the REAL issue? Stoner’s reasons, motives & rationale for getting out are as real & as apparent as the nose on anyone’s face – he couldn’t have made his disappointment with the direction the sport is moving in any clearer. This is a very real Red Flag warning or portent of a backlash that could demean & diminish the sport from its rightful pinnacle.

Let’s be very clear here: – CRT is supposed to stand for “Claiming Rule Team” – but insiders & high-level officials are already using the term, “Constructor Racing Teams”. With Ezpeleta dropping his bombshell at the close of 2011 with talk of control ECU’s & rev limits – let’s be accurate & honest (for a welcome change) even if Dorna would try to wash our mouths out with carbolic soap - we are really talking Moto1.

Now that the same Capital Company owns both the rights to WSBK & MotoGP – the FIM has even more reason to stand-up and be counted. Already, Italian viewers have had a change of TV broadcaster (& the possibility of a far lesser number of free-to-air televised races) rammed down their throats. The whole ambience is becoming more & more dictatorial & less & less about historical heritage, respect for the fans and/or the actual personnel & mechanical participants who make it all possible.

This is not good. Stoner has stood in the door (yet again) to protest what he & very many others see as a wrong fork leading to a dead-end in GP’s road.

There is now something like 100 Million+ clean-burning two-strokes being used in Asia, including older ones fitted with “after-market kits” to clean-up & modernise them for the new & inescapable environmental paradigm. This is the World’s fastest growing & developing area & offers a far larger motorcycle market for the manufacturers to pursue in all the various forms bikes can take. Are we going to have to go back to the future? Stoner is on record as seeing the 2-Stroke 500’s as the “golden years of real racing” – was he absolutely right? Cheers

Like others who are struggling to make sense of Stoners decision and clearly camped in the purist stand, you seem to have a conveniently short term memory regarding who made the self-serving rules until 6 months ago..the MSMA.

No place for any criticism for a 12 bike grid and computer contolled bikes that have turned the 80/20 equation on it's head?
The 21 litre and technology that manages, to ensure rivals have to spend the eqivalent of a small nations GDP to compete? ..or the much vaunted and spurious trickle down benefits for punters in terms of safety to production bikes?

Corner by corner mapping for your CBR Sir? Some pressurised gas cannisters for those pneumatic valves perhaps?..Oh and a fresh set of CF brake discs?
Nice..that'll be $40k thankyou.

If Stoner truly wanted to re-ignite his passion, he would be happy to ditch all the race specific technology that has dumbed down THE PROTOTYPES, and go back to yanking on throttle cables.

He's been towing the Honda corporate line since slipping on his HRC alpinestars and has very little justification to use this as an excuse for retirement now in my view.

What a shame to see the likes of Wosidog on such a great site - please return to MCN where you seem to sprout rubbish an order of magnitude greater than your last paragraph.

The likes of you often criticise Caseys lack of PR skills, his lack of personality etc. Yet in a typical act of hypocrisy above you criticise him for towing the PR line! And to think that's one of the more coherent of the many of your comments that I've seen.....

wosideg. I couldn't agree more. No, really, I couldn't. The MSMA are to blame (IMO) for the mess that Moto GP got itself into. They are the ones that pushed for all the technology, which drove up the prices of everything. And yes, Dorna should've grown some balls and taken the manufacturers to task over it. But they didn't. So shame on all of them imo. Who are the ones that suffered? Oh yeah, that's right, the paying public.......

Nice darts..........

re: "The MSMA are to blame (IMO) for the mess that Moto GP got itself into."

nice try, but you guys have to stop trying lay the blame at the feet of any one entity or person. this has been a collective effort. if anyone gets the "lion's share" of the blame, it's not dorna, it's not ezpelata, not the msma, damn sure not the riders... it's the behavior of the fans the past decade. the very people who "consume" the industry. we out number the suits prolly 100 to 1.

I especially like this .............

"If only Dorna, could & would just stick to their own knitting as the “promoters” & NOT “technical overseers” – & curb their enthusiasm for meddling - by dreaming-up more Rounds around the World & trying to force the MSMA’s hands to turn the Senior Championship into some sort of dumbed-down, made for TV only “Circus”. I quote Carmelo Ezpeleta verbatim: “ to boost the spectacularity (sic) of the racing.” No, Carmelo – left alone, without constant fiddling & changes – racing will find its own “spectacularity” – it certainly doesn’t need “bean counters & rent-seekers” to keep messing-about on the technical side in the quest for profit return!
The Senior GP Class has been continuous since 1949 without any wholesale alteration to the Formula. But then, our friends from Spain become involved & BANG - no less than 1 x combustion form change & then 3 x expensive capacity changes in just 7 years?
Shouldn’t they, in conjunction with the FIM & the MSMA instead, bring back long-term stability & common sense! It’s entirely possible that the Big Japanese 4 would all compete - AND BMW & Aprilia too! We live in hope ... The FIM needs to grow some ‘cojones & revert to their true & proper role - to nurture, protect & respect the sport it administers – NOT sell-out it out to showbiz dilettantes ... "

We must be careful not to be accused of " Spain bashing "..........

The MotoGP grid will be poorer without him for sure. The fact is, he is probably the least popular 2x WC ever. Even less popular than Nicky Hayden whose WC was not given much credit with his lack of victories or dominance.

"The truth is that Casey Stoner was never forgiven for the cardinal sin of beating Valentino Rossi in a straight fight."

That's pretty damn lame and not the 'truth'.

The guy was fast, but crashed EVERYTHING, EVERY WEEKEND pre-MotoGP and 1st year of MotoGP, but I didn't see him as any differently from the other fast crashers who weren't winning anything.

The truth is, Casey acted like a prick. At that point in your career, having the POTENTIAL to be a world champ earns you exactly NOTHING. Having the POTENTIAL to be the GOAT doesn't make you the GOAT.

His attitude and personality place him in that category of kid that gets picked on in school. It's not justified, but they just have those annoying traits that even if you're not a bully, you can't help but just scoff make fun of them.

It's a shame really. For someone that supposedly doesn't care about all that stuff, why let it bother you? Do your job and move on.

I'm a fan of everyone on the grid to a certain extent, Casey included. But even I, a fan of all, find it very difficult to get behind him.

He's special for sure. lol

"His attitude and personality place him in that category of kid that gets picked on in school. It's not justified, but they just have those annoying traits that even if you're not a bully, you can't help but just scoff make fun of them."

Your statement is enlightening. You actually can help the problem you described. You do not have to scoff and make fun of anyone. Unless you are a bully. Because that is what bullies do, they scoff and make fun of people who cannot help being a little different. So thanks for the heads up, fan of all.

Funny that, I seem to remember a certain V.Rossi starting in 125's & crashing for the 1st year before winning the next year, moving to 250's & crashing in his 1st year before winnning & surprise surprise crashing all through his 1st year of 500cc.
And you will be happy to know that Casey was viciously bullied throughout his school years.
I for one are just happy that I was able to see Casey race in all 3 classes live at Phillip Island. I will not forget him imposing his will upon a recalcitrant red beast any time soon. Tight lines Casey.

Yes, Stoner began his premier class racing with alot of crashes. As do many riders. But the point is that even after he won a World Championship and tamed the Ducati, basically proved his talent beyond a doubt - people still made excuses to his success. He was right to expect the accolades and recognition, credit where credit is due. Any reasonable person will agree.

It's just unfortunate that there are so many unreasonable people associated with MotoGP...

It is sad to see someone of Stoner's talent leave so abruptly and well before his time is expired on the bike. We can only speculate as to how many more race victories and titles he could have amassed. Now we will never know, but looking back on his comments one can see how he was correct in saying he wouldn't catch Doohan.

No doubt everyone wants to see racing like in WSBK with the battles and tight racing all the way to the end. Look at the Donington Race 2, that was true edge of your seat excitement. But at the expense of loosing a great rider?

To say that Stoner will be forgotten is from a lack of interest and respect, which is the underlying issue for Stoner's retirement. I admit at the beginning I wasn't a huge fan of Casey, but I love the sport and try to hold respect for each rider at the end of the day. He has taken the blunt of the press criticism and handled it pretty well in my opinion, I can only think others would have crumbled. He wasn't going to be the jovial character that Rossi is and now Lorenzo is lamented for, being labeled a copycat. How much more would the press and fans have tried to trample Casey if he were to work up some elaborate victory celebrations?

To say that Stoner was trying to upstage Rossi by bringing this news is a complete farce, besides right now it is not hard to upstage Rossi (and I am a huge Rossi fan in fact). He raced to race, not for the fame, not for the money, etc. I respect that Stoner puts his family first in life, I'm sure that having a new addition to his family has put a different perspective on everything. One cannot escape the horrific tragedies that have occurred recently within the MotoGP Championship; the tragic deaths of Marco Simoncelli, Yuki Takahashi, Peter Lenz, Daijiro Kato and others.

I will remember Stoner for being fiercely fast, always great so see sliding that bike (despite traction control). It'd be nice to see him win his final race, much like Troy Bayliss did at Valencia 2006. He will likely take his third MotoGP title in 2012 and ride off into the distance to live a happy life with his family.

For me, Stoner is THE reason I watch motoGP. His style of riding, relentless pursuit of success and competitive spirit are unique in the sport. I've never seen anyone so fast on a bike. Thank you Casey, we'll be looking up your old races once the season is out!! But you know you'll be back to bikes, right?

Brilliant article again David. You're a talent unto yourself, please don't retire on us any time soon!

Unfortunately, in the passing of time, all riders are really only remembered en-masse by their statistics. It's not anyone's fault, it's just how various mediums are limited in conveying past experiences. And the more time passes, the more those mediums are watered down with more statistics and experiences.

When comparing riders, there is no other quantifiable way to do this than by their statistics, even though we know that statistics do not maketh the rider (try comparing Stoner's riding style to Lorenzo's quantifiably?). To those that are not here to experience (and remember) his riding first-hand, then they have nothing else to go on and the talent will be lost in the numbers and the spin placed on those.

It's no ones fault that past riders are not remembered how they once were, it's just the way it goes.

... When starting out as a fan. Then you dig up old footage, and your mind is blown...

The fact that any vituperative bozo can jump on the net and post hateful bile and gossip is a factor in someone like Stoner departing far too early from the sport. Journos covering MotoGP are in some part responsible as they sometimes seem to feel obliged to cover things in a polarised, scandal-mongering way that panders to this kind of audience. I think that's part of what has gotten Stoner down and fed the myth that it's always been the bike, not the rider, or that his head wasn't right even when he has been utterly dismantling his opponents. Even when he's definitively proven that his talent has been the main driver of his success, the slurs remain. Shame on those who have failed to judge Stoner by his results taken in their full context. You're at least in part responsible for his departure, as Dave has laid out very methodically and eloquently in this article. Stoner leaving is tangible evidence of one of the things that sucks the most about the internet - its potential for negative influence on public discussion today.

re: "Stoner leaving is tangible evidence of one of the things that sucks the most about the internet - its potential for negative influence on public discussion today."

... and the industry as a whole.

i hereby issue the BCE award ("best comment EVER") to wazman...!!!

I'm stunned that Stoner is retiring but the thing I really don't understand is the comments here raising the idea that Stoner will fade from memory and become just another rider to history. Are his achievements still being underrated that badly?

Once he's done he'll be 4th all time in 500/MotoGP wins, ahead of Rainey, Hailwood, Lawson, Roberts, Duke and the rest. He's in the select club to win for two manufacturers. People still don't really know what to make of the 2007-2010 Ducatis as his results were so far beyond the absolute best any other rider could achieve on the things. He has outperformed the winningest 500/MotoGP rider during their shared time in the top class. Won at every track in the schedule.

I'm struggling to imagine how on earth Casey Stoner's time in MotoGP could ever be regarded as forgettable.

Even now, Stoner is still on the way to breaking some records... His statistics do not reflect his enormous talent, but even so he is cemented in the record books. His records will be seen as even more impressive when considering the short time in which he has achieved them.

Definitely a rider whose achievements will not be forgotten.

I'm not so sure Stoner will be forgotten too soon. Let's face it, Kevin Schwantz only won one title, yet he remains pretty popular. Here's hoping Stoner doesn't just fade away.

Kevin Schwantz was/is very well liked and is very fan friendly. Kevin is not remembered so much for his championship so much as his awesome, aggressive and late-braking riding style. And win it or bin it attitude.

Stoner will not be forgotten.. he will be remembered as the guy that complained constantly about everything.. even when he was winning. And that he quit waaaay too soon.

Forget about his achievements and impact on the sport?
I bloody well doubt that!
They may choose not to remember, but forget? ... no one's buying it.
At this point in time, he's still the standard ALL current riders are measured against and I don't see that changing in the forseeable future. Get used to it.


I read your articles regularly and I find them very informative. Now this is one article that does not have the standard of journalism that you have set for yourself. I have always appreciated that you do not let your personal likes and dislikes colour the way in which you present information and also that you do not make scathing attacks on anyone, particularly the riders. You have always been sympathetic to the riders and you try to show things from a perspective which is as neutral as is humanly possible. But this article is overly sympathetic to Casey Stoner and unnecessarily harsh on Rossi. That much can be gleaned from the way you have constructed the last few sentences of your piece.

Let me tell you that I was one of the many fans that Rossi had. But I thought that Rossi has stayed on in MotoGP even after his work there was finished and in trying to settle a final score (which was to upstage Stoner on a Ducati) Rossi shot himself in the foot and does not deserve any sympathy for that act of impudence. Rossi believed he was God and found out he is only human. This is the time for Stoner to have been graceful when in the eyes of the world he has demonstrated that he is superior to Rossi because of his ability to win on the Ducati which reduced Rossi to rubble. By whining and complaining like a small kid at school he may have won the sympathy of some but has definitely alienated most of the neutral people who don't worry too much about what was done to whom by whom and how.

I would like to add that Stoner has upstaged Rossi not by snatching away the press conference from Rossi but by the usual wrong perceptions that people have. Let me ask you a question? Does Stoner's winning three races on a bike that Rossi could not ride make him a better rider? In my opinion that is not true. I will elaborate on this a little. In college when I played table tennis I used a bat that was horrible and won many matches with it. I did not even realize how horrible it was. One day a state ranked player decided to check it out and played with it and lost to a rank outsider (in a practice game). I played the same player with that bat and beat him comfortably. That did not make me better than the celebrated player because once the celebrated player picked up his own bat he thulped me proper. Comparisons are all odious. One reason why I stopped being a Rossi fan is because of all that rubbish that his fans and the Italian media spread about his rivals. I began to sympathise with Stoner and learnt to respect his huge talent for what it is (not better or worse than someone else's) and now this terrible press conference where Stoner has shown his underbelly which is not a pretty sight.

David he is not martyr, does not deserve all this wasted sympathy. People before him have been treated badly and will be treated badly after him as well. When you are entering a game and the rules are not skewed against you, it is fine. No point complaining about media, Rossi fans, lack of respect for truck drivers, mechanics and the sweepers of the paddock. Everyone knows all that is a veneer behind which he is trying to generate some sympathy for himself. And unfortunately even a senior, mature and sensible journalist such as you has walked into his trap, instead of shutting it up.

You have it all wrong. Would YOU give up your job just in the hopes of getting some sympathy? To be honest, that's a ridiculous notion.

The article was to the usual high standard. Not harsh on Rossi. Not overly sympathetic to Stoner. Fact is fact.


Who said anything about retiring for the sake of sympathy? My comment was directed at David Emmett and I was alluding to the fact that Stoner was looking for sympathy in the last few years because of how he was treated by Rossi fans and Italian journalists. My comment was sardonic (and now I regret the title I gave the piece because it is too vitriolic on David) and what I was trying to do was to basically let me David know that since his word is taken seriously he should be careful in what he says and not let emotions get the better of him. This piece of his triggered those posts slating Livio Suppo and HRC while in reality what David says is in the domain of conjecture. At this point I would like to put it on record that I am a big admirer of David's journalism which has tremendous integrity in it and I thought that this was the one time when he let some emotion get the better of him. But he is human and I respect that as well. I have been late in replying to you since I was engrossed in the process of creating joy and amusement to another person who has been posting.

avsatishchandra, you are hilarious! Comparing your table tennis bat to a MotoGP bike. Even as a metaphor, that is the funniest thing I have read all day. Thanks for the laughs!

Let me bring this up also, also, just for laughs - "Rossi beat Stoner at Laguna Seca by using all of the guile at his disposal to get ahead and disrupt the Australian's race"

By 'guile', I asume you mean "cut the corner inside the paint at the corkscrew, and shot it across the gravel showering stones everywhere cause he couldn't get around him and was worried he would lose" [sorry... showing my pro-stoner sentiments there... slap slap, bad me]

I'm surprised no-one has brought up something that, to me, stuck out like the proverbial dog's balls. That Casey said in the press conference that he "doesn't want to lose his passion for riding motorbikes" and that remaining in the scene would do that. Isn't that why we are all here - we have a passion for motorbikes, and we love to ride ? Casey was not talking about racing - he was talking about the joy we all feel on two wheels - and that the grind of practice, the testing, was all contrinuting to diminishing his enjoyment on 2 wheels.

That is the most genuine thing I have heard a racer say. Not being a racer, but somone who rides every day by choice, and doesn't own a 4-wheeled tintop cage, I could completely identify with what Casey said there. Throw in a new baby, the fact his life-partner is no longer with him, it was just a matter of time.

People didn't warm to Casey on the whole. But to me - he was the most real one out there.

Very well said. The comment about riding motorbikes caught my attention as well. Personally, it would be a terrible thing if circumstances caused me to lose my joy in the simple act of riding a motorcycle. Having to buy a car and actually preferring to drive it places... heaven forbid!!

I think Stoner was spot-on about other riders hanging around for reasons other than racing as well.


I am glad you have found my piece hilarious. I am glad it had you laughing when the whole sordid drama and tear jerking was happening for this poor bloke that has been wronged by the world. Obviously you have never heard of the term analogy and neither were you blessed with logic. No wonder then you found this hilarious. And while you weep for Stoner's loss (not MotoGP's) think about this post and feel happy and laugh. All the best. Enjoy.

Stoner's loss ? Seems to me, he will retire set for life. He can do what he pleases. I am having trouble seeing any loss there, as he wants to go. but I assume once more, this is your amusing logic. Thanks again !

I can see you are having a lot of trouble seeing a lot of things. But it doesn't matter since you are maintaining the joy. You are most welcome to enjoy my amusing logic.

You're a very entertaining man. I just think you need a few lessons on written expression. No big deal though, I'm sure you'll get there. Just keep reading how others do it. Good luck!

Oh by the way, where did I talk of "Rossi beat Stoner at Laguna Seca by using all of the guile at his disposal to get ahead and disrupt the Australian's race"? I guess not only are you having trouble seeing what is written by me but you are somehow able to see things that I did not write as well. But then you are happy and that is what counts in the end.

Simultaneous retirements.
Of course the other big retirement announcement yesterday was that of up to 3 of the Wiggles. Maybe Stoner has spied a new career opening ...

I also look forward to Jeremy Burgess' response to David asking him how Rossi's Plan B is going.

What a pathetic piece of defensive and conjecturing tripe. This kind of arrogant articles have been a part of alienating me from Stoner and it's pretty sad that you're not even close of obtaining any journalistic integrity with that kind of bias. Sad indeed.

On more important matters, it's truly sad that Stoner has need the felt to retire. It
s a big loss to lose the 2nd best and most talented rider of the last 15 years or so.

Here's a tip: lose your bias, attitude, and preconceived ideas - then you may be able to remain neutral and see the sport from different peoples viewpoints.

It's telling that so many people feel sad at their own loss of not being able to watch Stoner ride anymore. Typically ignoring how Stoner himself actually feels, only thinking about their personal entertainment.

And what does that have to do with my post? You would think that sites like this screaming murder everytime Stoner and media is mentioned together with some swipe thrown towards Rossi when he has nothing to do with the topic isn't bringing any respectability towards them. It does get pretty tiring quite fast to hear Stoner being the biggest martyr of the last 2 millenniums.

As to your 2nd paragraph, umm what? I never said anything like that, I do respect his decision naturally and he's doing what he sees is best for him.

Motogp is more than racing to me, and the lesson I learned from this...

If you want to change the world [especially around you], change yourself. ~ an ancient law but works perfectly in any centuries, and in anything (person, corporation, etc)

You can't change the media, you can't change the fans [especially opponent fans who attacked you], the championship rules, etc without changing yourself first.

If you can't change yourself - you'll sink and surrender...

Thank you for the lesson, much love, and good luck Casey in whatever you're doing in the future.

I would ask you to pay more attention to what you write and especially what you suggest. Many people accept your opinion as final, without thinking first.

I got the impression, as well as many people, that somehow Honda is to blame for the decision that Stoner made. What?

I think that this situation is absolutely fair to both sides; Casey to announce his retirement so early in the season, so Honda could make plans for next year. What should HRC do? Wait until the half or end of a season for Casey to decide, and then chase his replacement or ? We both know this it is impossible.

You are correct, I should be more careful. Certainly, I believe that Stoner was about 95% decided on retiring at the start of the season. I don't believe in any way that Honda was responsible for Stoner's decision to retire. I do believe that once the news was leaked, it forced him into taking a decision sooner, rather than later. I don't believe that they influenced the outcome of the decision, but maybe the timing.

As for the rumors of Livio Suppo being the source of the leak, the strange thing about that is that Suppo has been Stoner's most vociferous supporter in the paddock, almost since he entered MotoGP. Suppo has staunchly defended Stoner throughout his time at Ducati, and was instrumental in moving him to HRC. But the leak came from somewhere inside Honda, but the question is, where?

I also believe that Stoner was about 95% decided on retiring at the start of the season. I believe the timing for announcement is right. The decision to retire was obviously already made​​, now Stoner has less pressure on him (in every way), and now Honda can start looking for his replacement in time.

I think that Jorge Lorenzo will be Honda's first choice!

I also believe that Stoner was about 95% decided on retiring at the start of the season. I believe the timing for announcement is right. The decision to retire was obviously already made​​, now Stoner has less pressure on him (in every way), and now Honda can start looking for his replacement in time.

I think that Jorge Lorenzo will be Honda's first choice!

I don't like this piece. Good luck and don't let the door hit you in the ass Casey.

I'm already dreading the next few years of drama "THIS IS WHY CASEY STONER LEFT!!!111" injected into every topic.

Now imagine 10 years of having "GOAT" interjected into every conversation by a bunch of yellow clad sycophantic clowns.

At some stage, once Stoner has had a couple more kids, fished for a few more Barra, raced V8 super car and so forth. He's only 26, he could easily decide in 5 years that he'd like another crack if especially if the rules are more palatable to him. Then he could jump on a Yam win another titlE or two and be the only rider to ever take the title on 3 different bikes and the only rider to ever won the title on a Ducati. here's bloody hoping, Stoners talent is unmatched in the field and probably only equalled by 1 or 2 ever.

Great article by the way, though I would have said most people realized well before 2010 that Stoner was a talent of epic proportions. 2011 merely confirmed it.

Riding a bike in MotoGP is a job, Stoner does not like it anymore so he quits. This is hardly surpsing. We all try to quit or change our job when we do not like it. What is a bit more surprising is why he does not like his job anymore. In a nutshell, Stoner seems to be still looking at having a job as an unbearable side effect of having fun. For this reason, he sees no reason and no duty to manage the unavoidable doses of pressure, nastiness and pettiness that every job with a multi-million salary entails.

On these bases, I would not be too surprised by a sudden change of heart and even less by an early comeback. Life catches up and when the train hits, working and having fun acquire a new balance. If he will not have managed to find a new way to be among the best, possibly with much less risk and in a smaller or more anonymous circus, he will be right back. I am looking forward to that day because the kid has an enormous raw talent and I would love to watch him grown up into a proper champion.

"And why does he hate his media commitments quite so vehemently? The truth is that Casey Stoner was never forgiven for the cardinal sin of beating Valentino Rossi in a straight fight."

Spot on David.

Donninton 2007 & 2008 were prime examples of disgraceful behaviours from the crowd towards him- for no apparent reason other than beating Rossi.

Rossi supporters - fans and media continues to assassinate Stoner's character to this day. Some of the disgraceful posts in this particular blog are further examples.

From the BBC:
But he has repeatedly encountered hostility from sections of the British public, and does not know why.

"What do they want? Are they here to watch racing? It's not the right way to come to a race track," he said.

"Then I got up on the stage at the Riders for Health charity day and everybody booed me, so I don't really want to do that again.
"And even going round after the race, I had a 40 or 50-year-old lady giving me a boo sign and another guy making obscene gestures."

"The events of 2009 merely confirmed the fans' and the media's perception of Stoner" .

This would read far better as 'sections of the fans....' I and many others have never felt this way about young Mr Stoner. For me he was a star the moment he slung a leg over a 250 for the first time. Over riding the thing everywhere and crashing lots but at the same time flat out fast. You just knew then this kid was going somewhere big.

Even though you covered it nicely later in the article with "The truth is that Casey Stoner was never forgiven for the cardinal sin of beating Valentino Rossi in a straight fight." Which is ultimately the source of all the baseless, juvenile, vitriolic words and personal jibes of the so called 'fans' of the sport, that have been regurgitated ad nauseam over the years. Congratulations little 46'ers, aided and abetted by large sections of the media you've done your tiny little bit in bringing a premature end to Casey Stoners career. A bit of a nose / face spiting effort though I must say if you really are 'fans of the sport'.

"baseless, juvenile, vitriolic words and personal jibes"

As opposed to your well-founded objective analysis? Spare me the hypocritical whining please, it's not doing any good to anyone.

Fanbases of rival racers badmouthing the opponent on the Internet? What an incredible occurrence. That must've only happened in the Rossi-Stoner saga in any sport, ever?

Pedrosa: Pedrobot, Dwarf, Midget, Can't fight, Fragile, Never going to win a title, Boring wins, etc. etc.

Lorenzo: Copycat, Your Gay, Inherited Rossi's bike, Boring wins, etc etc

Spies: Letdown, Going to lose his job, Over-hyped, Boring, etc etc

Rossi: Flossi, Gay, Uccio's boyfriend, A sham, Best bike, etc etc

Hayden: Gifted title winner, The corporate line holder, Shouldn't be on a factory bike, etc etc

I can go on and on.... ALL these guys, like all professional athletes, have faced criticism fairly or un-fairly, but they got on with their jobs. Stoner got a raw deal, probably more than most, but it's not like the entire world was against him. Some people liked him, some people didn't, just like all the guys above. The difference is they put it to the side and got on with they were being paid to do.

I'm not knocking Stoner, I have immense respect for someone who can follow his heart like this young man can. If you're not enjoying what you do, it's time for a change.

But, let's not get too carried away with our sympathy for someone who got to do what most of us can only dream about and who didn't like being called names by people he didn't know.

Man, there are a few laughable posters on this thread!

First off, Stoner has put up with bad press for years, yes he mentioned it in his interview but so what? ...He's mentioned it before (especially in Australia) and just got on with it.
The thing that's made the difference is the bikes....or the direction of the bikes. He wants to race prototypes. He has never raced a production based bike (on tarmac) and has absolutly no interest in them.
Secondly ....he will be forgotten? WTF? ...what century are these posters living in?....Go to YouTube and type in "motorcycle drifting" or "MotoGP slide" and see how many film clips there are of Stoner on there. Even better, select "MotoGP Drifting 2007 or 2008 or 2009 or 2010" and his are the ONLY clips you will get. His Red Bull "1000 frames per second" clip got 300,000 hits in the first 5 days

As ever a great read including comments from all angles. I expect Casey will receive much attention at every event from hereon in to hopefully another and final world title. Expect crowd volumes to soar for the rest of the season in order to have a last chance to the current maestro in action one last time. What's Carmello's take on this. He must be gutted. His second biggest cash cow out of the paddock.
I'll miss Casey. He won me over back at the end of 2006 when he first through a leg over the Ducati in testing.
As for his relationship with the press over the GP1 years its always been a case of Houdini on a bad night. The crowd can't see in and he can't get out.

What I find curious that in every Motogp-related site I go to seems to have a clear pro-Stoner bias, at least since his first title. Doesn't go together with the conspiracy theories though.

perhaps because journos are true racers at heart, and vicariously living through their reporting?

I'm not a Stoner fan, but I certainly appreciate his mastery of his machine. As to whether he is a better racer than Rossi .. we'll see how the apologists explain today's race. If you are going to dis' Rossi for his uncompetitive riding on a machine Stoner was able to be victorious on, to be fair you are going to have to give Rossi his due today for beating Stoner on what is obviously the best bike in the field.

David has always been a Stoner fan, and I didn't expect him to stop now, but I do think he got out a little ahead of his skis on this one.

... and it ain't all fun, just plain old suck your will to live work most of the time. Applause for walking away at the top and on your own terms (hopefully with no regret in due course).

Anyway, does Troy Bayliss have his phone number?

I for one admire and respect the guy. Reminds me of another Aussie racer who as all the records here in the US, Mat Mladin. In a interview he once said, I have money, I don't need it, I race for the passion of pushing myself to the limit and finding out what I am truly made of (Ben Spies AMA era). That is what Casey is all about. Pushing himself to the limits and defying death 18 times a year on a bike that has 280hp + and weighting less than 350lbs. Jeez ppl, what do u guys want? I would love to have half his talent but them again I know I would fail, why? Cause I still need the balls to go with that talent! Hence Rossi, has talent but doesn't have the balls to push it like Stoner.

I remember what Ben Spies said before the start of the 2011 season, "Casey on the Honda is scary". Did he know something we didnt? Nope. He just gave respect to where it was due. I'm sure Ben understood Casey better than us. He raced against an Aussie with almost the same attitude here in the states. Never giving up and adjusting to what the bike needs and requires no matter what condition. Isn't that what Gabarini said is Caseys big advantage?

Casey will never be forgotten, his talent and dedication are second to none. His racing records since he was a little kid have proved that. I truly thank god for being able to witness him race at the world level and will always have that hought lingering in my mind. How would so and so have faired up against Casey.

For the true fans, Mat Mladin on racing. Pay attention to the cold tires part, Casey is almost the same.

You'll be truly missed Casey!

Also a big fan of Mladin... talk about dominating a series... until Spies came along, that was fun to watch

To add to what you linked... For anyone interested here is a series of interviews with Mladin, it's pretty long, but he really goes into depth about what it was like to race against Spies and some of his riding techniques.

Part 1 of 14, I think: http://www.onthethrottle.com/races/mat-mladin-series-intro-inside-with-t...

fantastic article David tho i take issue with your constant re-iteration of "the truth is that Casey Stoner was never forgiven for the cardinal sin of beating Valentino Rossi in a straight fight" - i know you have a big love affair with CS27 (:D) and have tried to be his voice of reason among the other journos but i simply do not agree.

stoner has consistently failed to understand the very sport he participated in. he's a throwback to the days before barry sheenan turned the sport around from some nostalgic idea of "purity" into a show that more than the die hards could enjoy. to crap all over the paddock in his announcement just shows how deep his anger and the chips on his shoulder go. and who is *really* to blame? david, you're quick to point to the journalists and his fans point to the rossi fans (whatever that means anymore) - i point to casey stoner. this started long before the 2007 season. even back in the 250 days you could see his disdain for "the way things are". he adapted to the bikes but he didn't adapt to the life that allowed him to ride them. i appreciate his straight talking nature but he shouldn't be surprised that a side effect would be alienation and a *sometimes* unfair treatment of his astonishing accomplishments. if he simply didn't give a flying f about what the rossi fans or journalists thought he would have been teflon. clearly this is not the case.

i truly hope he finds peace in the post-racing afterlife - i think his anger runs deeper than anything we've been able to see and maybe a simpler life will allow him to chill.

and in the meantime i fully expect him to either win the WC (70%) or give Jorge a serious run for it (30%).

Hear hear.

To stand up there and basically declare he's leaving because MotoGP doesn't live up to his expectations is a slap in the face to all the supporters that made him rich and famous.

I'm quite fine with anyone retiring any time he likes, even though he could stay in and beat the crap out of everyone for a couple more years and cement his place in the record books, but once again he had to have a snit and make it all someone else's fault.

I don't think he will be any better remembered than John Kocinski.

After racing dirt track from 4 years old & being on the road in Europe from 14 years old, I believe that Casey is just over it. The 50 minutes on Sunday afternoon is no longer making up for the other 10030 minutes of the week. He has always said he was not in racing for the long haul & would walk away as soon as it stopped being fun & it has stopped being fun.

and these arguments are ridiculous.

Regardless of who is the best, the "Show" gave us Valentino revealing yesterday he loves "poofy" Ice Cream and hilariously, hopes to win a championship on a Ducati. Love it!!

All Casey can contribute is dominating racecraft and victories..

I find this article very amusing as the author suggests that Valentino got upstaged. How exactly? He was at the press conference only to reaffirm what he already said on his social media site. Sensationalism at it's finest. Journalism is taking an impartial view, not writing articles as a fan of X over Y.

I have been attending motorcycle racing forover 50 years. Until Stoner was booed at the British Grandprix, I had never ever seen such disrepect given to any professional motorcycle rider of any championship. To me that singnalled shift in the audience the sport now attracts. To me, and the real fans of the sport, the attraction has been the skill and bravery of the riders. Sure, we liked a personality like Sheene but never disliked a rider like Roberts or Lawson or even Pedrosa for being matter of fact and "boring" off the bike. The crowd suddenly wanted evreybody to be a Rossi off the bike. The bias against Stoner has been palpable since the beggining of his success. Rossi crashed more than Stoner in his first year of the highest level yet Stoner is a crasher? Rossi was caught cheating by having his pit spot cleaned and then cursed and spat the dummy and managed to turn Gibbers into the villian. All was forgiven because it was Rossi. Stoner tapped an idiot on the shoulder, through leathers and gloves, after he did the mortal sin of slowing on a racing line. Somehow this was the worst thing in the world yet when Rossi came to physical blows with Biaggi, out of pure spite and bad sportsmanship, he was forgiven. Stoner has never, in any race in any class, taken another rider out of the race. Yet Rossi stupidly takes him out last year and Stoner is the villian for making a joke to the Clown who turned up with is helmet on and media slaves in tow to make a half hearted appology. Cutting a corner and putting other people in danger is frowned upon but when Rossi did that at the Cork Screw and almost t-boned Stoner that was OK. I can just imagine if the roles were reversed. Can you remember the russish that was written after Stoner dared suggest that was a bit dodgy? Cheating on Tax is one of the most revolting things a wealthy person can do but once again, the scrutiny of Rossi by the sporting press was minimal, both for his 2002 claim of only 500 Euro in wages and his 35 million Euro settlement in 2008. Yet this bloke is put forward as a better spokesman for MotoGP than a hard working, honest talking and unbelievably talented young bloke from Australia! What made this sport great was the best in the world pushing their individual bikes to their limits. Who cared if Agostini lapped the whole field. It was good enough for the fans just to see him ride at limits of the machine given to him and for the second placed bloke to do the same. Thes appreciation of the skill of the rider will make Stoner one of the best of all time. After Lorenzo stopped being an apprentice clown and concentrated on riding he became one of the best ever seen. If Rossi shuts up about the bike and just rides it to its limit he can return to that fold. At the moment he is a bigger whinger than Stoner could ever be but all is forgiven as it is Stoner's fault the Ducati was never developed.

Five star comment if ever I've seen one.

I've enjoyed watching Rossi over the years but his court jester stuff never snowed me, it was always clear that he was a calculating and ruthless character. And that's usually the sort of characteristics that get anyone to the top, in any field - business, or social interaction, or sport. Stoner is different, he did it with pure talent and heart on the sleeve honesty. It's so unusual that people simply fail to appreciate it, or look for ways to explain it that fit into their blinkered ways of processing things. He isn't actually a complainer, or whinger, or moaner - he's simply honest. THAT is the difference. The other guys are regurgitating rehearsed lines, sucking up to the sponsor's demands, covering their arses, Oh and I do appreciate that their comments in their native tongue are closer to their reality, however they still manage to say as little as possible about what is really going on in their team and their head as they can.

Thanks again Mr Dodds, and thanks Casey for blowing my mind after more than two decades of following GP racing, see you at PI for one last hurrah!

I too have never seen a bike racer treated like Casey. Nor have I seen a racer get away with more dubious behaviour and more unfair special treatment, while at the same time as being the most spoiled prima-donna in the history of the sport.

Well said. I could not have put that any better. Stoner will be missed.

Looks like I will have to get to the Island this year.

Hit the nail squarely on the head, sir.

Dear popmonkey, would you mind awfully if I were to trouble you for some examples of :

"Even back in the 250 days you could see his disdain for "the way things are".


This season has brought a remarkable number of new posters to this site, most of whom are simply loaded with invective, and have a "me too" posting attitude which seems to have been developed from racing websites which don't have real content. There is also a huge influx in rabid Stoner fans, some of whom have confirmed multiple identity postings.

The ridiculous statement that until rossi fans did it, no one was ever booed on the track is simply preposterous. Ask Phil Read what it was like to beat Hailwood. I recall seeing him give the crowds a particular hand gesture after being booed.
I am finding the "aussie trait" line to be the most irritating of all the hogwash to wade through. Personality Traits are not national. Otherwise Rupert Murdoch and Casey Stoner would measure their success in exactly the same way. There's no "American Trait" either, or for that matter no "Texas trait". Ben Spies is as far away from Keven Swantz as I i can imagine people.
So while we are busy ascribing character traits to people, we might consider there is no such thing as a "typical ____ trait"

Casey is so young to be leaving the thing he has pursued most, why? because the 'circus' is too vulgar. It may prove to be a bad decision. I'm not talking about the good of motogp or the sport etc, I'm talking about a young man with a long time to spend barra fishing in front of him. I was in a boat barra fishing in the Kimberley at the same time and place as Casey during his 2009 recouperation process. I loved it, but it's not a career, it has adrenaline (and crocodiles), and its not banging bars with Gorge.

I hope Honda says 'Okay Casey, you win, a one year contract' and Rossi sorts out that Italian rocket, what a finale to a racer's career.... Rossi, Gorge and Casey, all of them knowing its Casey's last year, all of them trying to show that they dominated the 4 stroke early years, oh what a year 2013 could've been if Honda had just said "yes". Poor decision HRC!!! Marquez has to ride a satellite anyway, where was the downside, bad decision HRC!

About Casey's mind, its too easy to dismiss and leave a situation you dont like. The best result is often to stay and fight - if not for yourself, then maybe for the next generation of young riders. Barry Sheene hated the poor standard of track safety but he did not leave, he took the riders with him, perhaps Casey could've made life for others a little better as well. He is dominant rider at the moment, why didn't he front up?

I think when he's 40, and I'm well dead, he'll lament this decision at 3 am when the daemons come... You're a very long time retired!