Livio Suppo Certain That Stoner Will Return At Estoril

As the weekend of the Portuguese Grand Prix approaches, speculation concerning Casey Stoner is once again stirring on whether the Australian will actually race at Estoril. Little has been heard from the 2007 World Champion since his return to his native Australia, other than some speculation and a brief interview about a fishing trip. While undoubtedly good for Stoner's recovery, this radio silence has done nothing to shed light on Stoner's situation and the burning question in the minds of MotoGP fans and followers of whether the Australian will actually be making a return or not.

Naturally, Ducati has tried to do whatever it can to quash any speculation, and as part of that information offensive, Ducati team boss Livio Suppo spoke to the Spanish state broadcaster RTVE. During the interview, Suppo affirmed that he was sure that Stoner would be back in action at Estoril. "At this moment, we have no reason to think that Casey won't be back," Suppo told RTVE. "Everything is organized, we've booked the flights, we have nothing to make us think he won't be back."

Suppo also asserted that the team had been in constant contact with Stoner and his medical staff, though he had not spoken to Stoner himself, as all communication was happening through Stoner's father, Colin, who manages the young Australian. Stoner himself is avoiding taking telephone calls, under instruction from his doctors, but Ducati's doctors had spoken to the Australian's physician in Australia yesterday (Tuesday September 22nd), and had been assured that Stoner was in much better health than when he first arrived back home at the end of July.

Suppo laughed when he was reminded that all of Stoner's main rivals had said they were looking forward to his return. "Once he gets out on the track, they probably won't be so happy to have Casey back!" he joked. Suppo went on to point out that as soon as Stoner returned to testing in January of this year after having wrist surgery, he was immediately the fastest rider on the track, despite still being in pain from his wrist. "Once he gets back on the track at Estoril, I expect him to be up to speed very quickly," Suppo told RTVE.

Listen to the interview (in which the interviewer speaks in Spanish and Livio Suppo replies in Italian) below:

Livio Suppo confirms Stoner's return

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Is it just me or anyone feel it strange that Suppo makes the statement "At this moment, we have no reason to think that Casey won't be back," Suppo told RTVE. "Everything is organized, we've booked the flights, we have nothing to make us think he won't be back."

I would have thought that as his employer, Casey would have spoken directly to Suppo to tell him how he was going. After a 3 race leave of absence, I'd expect to be in some form of direct contact with my employer, if only a "yup, feeling and looking great, can't wait to see you all". To have my dad answer and field all calls would be a little suspicious, especially to the person who indirectly pays my wage. If Stoner is still this fragile, this close to his return, then that can't be a good sign? And especially, as everyone has been at some pains to point out that the issue isn't mental but physical.

Cejay ur right on the mark. It seems Suppo is trying to convince himself, his sponsors and everyone else, when even he admits but not in so many words that he does not have a clue.

If it is racing stress that is causing the problem, u won't know how fit he is until he rides the bike again. Its weird that doctors have advised him not to take any calls even to give assurances to Ducati of his return.

The plot thickens, all does not seem to be well in Ducati land. We will wait and see what happens in Estoril.

I maintain its all mental, guy sets blistering laps in practise but can't get close to those times on race day. Go figure.

I had a dream last night that Stoner didn't come back. Let's hope that proves to be just a dream, and not a prophecy.
I can understand not taking most calls, so as to avoid the mental stress of dealing with the media. However, I do think that a single conversation with Suppo would have been a good idea. Unless, as has been rumored, his relationship with the team isn't all that great. I just want to see him back on form; someone has to derail the Fiat Yamaha train.

I agree with RedandHott that it's a bit strange that the manager of the Ducati Team can't talk to Stoner directly... is it that stressful to just talk to your race team? If so, how will it be if you ride.

Something doesn't sound right, but then again, maybe everything is.

We shall see...

Troy Bayliss, arguably one of the nicest / easy going person to ever grace the paddocks, wasn't even shaking Livio's hands no more, back in 2006, so one can imagine how someone as direct and frank as Casey must feel...

I think Stoner's ailment was primarily physical, but I think it may be evolving into a psychological ailment. He's only 24, he has a beautiful wife, plenty of money, and he is definitely one of the most talented riders on the planet. I'm sure he's asking himself why he feels like complete garbage when everything is supposed to be going his way.

Does he really need to spend his youth in the company of hypertensive Type A pit vipers?

Unlike many of the GP regulars, I think Stoner developed his talents because he wanted to. I don't think he developed his talents so that he could derive his self-worth and his status from clawing his way to the top of the human pile.

I'm not sure what the future holds for him, but he may set new career goals for himself.

Casey's family sacrificed virtually everything they had so he could race. His drive was to provide for those who sacrificed for him, pretty good career goals in my opinion.

Whole thing is weird and it starts with Stoner...
As an ex pro athlete the stresses that come with are hardly known or considered by the layman. So from there I have alot of respect for him and any athlete. It can be uber intense. Regardless, Stoner IMO is coming up short and has added some weird drama to the rumour mill. Hope he comes back and contributes, or buggers off and let Ducati move on to next-

Most of us in the real world do not have a manager that represents us in all business dealings. Stoner does. If I could avoid a phone conversation regarding business and have my manager take it instead, I would never need a phone except to call mom.

I don't think it is strange at all. I wouldn't want to talk with Suppo much either - except that he has the coolest voice in the paddock.

I understand the whole manager part and I don't expect him to chat to Suppo every second day. But one call, face to face (so to speak), assuring your employer that you intend to return as expected? The give-away line was the comment that he has been told not to speak to anyone, but we're also told that his illness is physical and not of the mind. If it's not stress related, why the concern about talking with people from your team?

Stoner is a little stressball, you only have to see the intensity of his reactions to certain things to understand that. Unless he has taken steps to address that part of his personality (if he wants to and he certainly doesn't have to), I don't see how he will maintain his recovery.

The dude was stressed in 2007 when everything was going his way. I recall him freaking out during free practice a few times when he thought he was being followed.

Some of you guys are hilarious. Is it really that far fetched that Stoner had fatigue issues and needed a rest? Hardly the first time its happened in the world of sport.

Redandhott you have a short memory, if there's one guy who replicates his practice pace in the race its Casey Stoner - when he's fit.

No it's not far fetched he had fatigue issues. What people find strange is that there is no direct communication between Stoner and his employer, leading to speculation that all is either not well with him or his relationship with his team.

I agree on both counts. He was clearly physically not well (due to whatever cause). Also, a lack of direct communication will have perhaps only worsened whatever tension might have already existed within the team/with Ducati -- it's natural that among any group of people/in any relationship (including business) not everyone will get along perfectly.

There's a lot of speculation here simply because we'll never really know the true dynamic between Stoner and Suppo. But then I guess that's sometimes the way it is when you have two very focused, very driven people who don't want to show any sign of weakness.

In his Australian Two Wheels column, Casey stated that he needed the break due to fatigue and for me that's good enough - straight from the horses mouth.

If Stoner has said to Ducati he'll be back at Estoril unless he tells them otherwise that's the assumed position, so I can perfectly understand getting his manager (and let's face it in this situation that's his Dad's primary role) fielding his 'client's' calls.

Stoner and his family sacrificed so much to get where he is and I'm sure that that same drive will get him back in the paddock as soon as he's fit. Anyone who doubts his ability and drive really hasn't looked into his career in my opinion - it's all there to see.

Get Well Soon Casey - MotoGP needs you!

From now, until Casey Stoner returns, I'm going to smoke a bowl every time I read "arm psychology" on here.