Casey Stoner Video Series - On Turn 3 At Phillip Island, Anxiety, And Much More

By now you have probably already heard about it, but if you haven't, it is worth catching up with this series of videos of an interview with Casey Stoner on the Gypsy Tales podcast. The original podcast is some 3 hours long (and having not had a spare 3 hours yet, I have not yet listened to the whole thing) but the clips on YouTube are more than worth your while. This is no surprise: when he was in the paddock it was always a pleasure to interview Casey Stoner, as he was the best by far at explaining to laypeople the intricacies of riding a MotoGP bike.

His explanation of Turn 3 at Phillip Island, the corner that would later be named after him, is exemplary in that respect. In one video below, Stoner explains why he risked sliding through Turn 3 at 265 km/h. The objective, he explained was to get the rear stepped out as it made losing the front much more difficult. But the purpose was not to go faster through Turn 3, but to prepare Turn 4, Honda Corner better. Sliding the bike put him on a better line for Turn 4, where he could brake for the corner in a straight line and load the right side of the tire better, massively reducing the risk of crashing at one of the trickiest parts of the Phillip Island circuit.

Stoner goes on to compare that with Turn 3 at Valencia. He would slide the rear at the fast left kink to prepare Turns 4 and 5, the first right handers after a long time spent on the left of the tire. Again, it was about lining up braking for Turn 4, minimizing the risk at the Valencia circuit's crash blackspot.

But as good as his descriptions of riding are, the most insight comes from his struggles with anxiety, and the stress it placed on him. He speaks of laying on the floor of his motorhome, nearly paralyzed by stress, wanting to die rather than race as a result of his fear of failure. A very open and honest insight into the mental struggles elite athletes face at the highest levels of sport. And it makes his decision to retire much more comprehensible.

I have assembled a number of these videos into a playlist, but I highly recommend checking out both this podcast and some of the other interviews done, including with other Australian racing legends such as Mick Doohan and of course Jack Miller.

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I got to be a marshal in 2017 (post Stoner) on the outside of turn 3. The most exercise we had all weekend was chasing geese off the track, but if had we ended up with people to pick up they would have arrived very quickly. A spectacular viewing spot, particularly when it was wet.

2017! Many rewatches. 

If memory serves, Dovi went down super hard and fast in the wet before Sunday and was beat up pretty bad. He wasn't his usual self for the race. Marquez grabs the silverware.

T3 Marshall there? Niiice Stefan! I can't pick my favorite track, but CAN a Top 3...Phillip Isl, Mugello and Assen have been the longstanding ones. Portugal's recent addition of Portimao is in the draft. Soft spot for Lagna Seca. 

Pushed for a #1? Right now it is P.I. - say, how do you get seagulls off the track short of an Iannone helmet bullseye? Sincere question.

The seagulls aren't big enough to worry about, but the Cape Barren Geese are. That year we also had the added interest of a sizeable tiger snake in the bush just behind our area.

Geese! Yes. (All the beasties down under are more menacing eh). 

Air horn? Scarecrow? Running with a broom? Hawk? Pellet gun? Iannone helmet?? Boomerang? Didgeridoo? I can send "wrist rocket" slingshots.

I recall racing at Summit Point in Virginia one year; the marshalls told us they all carried sidearms because the tire walls tended to attract rattlers. Actually saw one wandering across the track during a track walk. Good incentive not to crash!

Precaution for venomous snakes in Australia - wear shoes.

Precaution for venomous snakes in USA - carry a gun.

Possibly harder to get people to comply with the precaution in Australia.

I raced at Summit Point (West by god Virginia, BTW) for 18 years. I never hear about rattlesnakes or armed marshalls. Now depending on the year, the marshalls could have been reefer toking halfway house early work release refugees. Summit was/is? a rancid little backwater track, but it was my local (70 miles away) track. First raced there in 1987, last race was 2004. 

Browns will launch for your upper inner thigh. They know how to put someone down quick so that they never get back up again. I skip solo bowhunting during the hot months mainly because of that variable. Even with a partner, if you get hit out bush.. short of a helicopter ride you're pretty much screwed.

Red belly black - venomous and deadly but shy, known as a friendly snake by the Indigenous folks. Browns and KING Browns? They'll chase you. Hard.

As 11yo's we'd walk along an old unused railway track with dry grass at head height both sides. We'd go looking for a chase and get one or two every arvo guaranteed in summer. Once you get down into the dry farmlands, shit gets real with browns!

I hear about so many bowhunters from the US being too scared to come down here and hunt. You know what scares me? How about BEARS AND WOLVES!

Yeah I know I am.

Oh.. the bears!

Casey's parents sell almost everything they own to further his career by moving to Great Britain, when he was 15, as I recall.  I imagine that he was so enthusiastic at that point that it was just a great adventure. At some point however, it must have occurred to him the gravity of the situation. If he failed to produce, what then for the family's financial future? That's a hell of a load for someone so young. We hear countless stories about families supporting their racer children and the sacrifices they make. The Hayden family comes to mind. But I never heard about any family selling off everything like Casey's parents did. Concerning his early retirement, it's a wonder he made it that long. Of the era that he rode, he was my guy. I was bummed out when he left, but no more. I hope his health returns and he's able to fully enjoy life. Thanks for the memories, Casey.

He has repaid them ten fold too. His Mum is living her best life.

Love. Family. Respect.

Stacey’s family originate from England. His grandfather lived in the same village in Sussex I grew up in, in a house that his father built. He then moved to Australia in 1950. I speak to Casey’s grandfather over the phone regularly. My grandmothers maiden name was Stoner, and my 6x great grandfather is Casey’s 6x great grandfather.