Stoner To Honda: Further Details Emerge

When rumors emerged after Jerez that Casey Stoner had signed a contract with Honda, the news was met with a certain amount of scepticism. The story broke in the Italian press, with the TV broadcaster Sportmediaset the first to publish the reports. But Casey Stoner has consistently dismissed any such talk, saying it is far too early to be thinking about 2011, and that his first focus is on this season.

Those rumors appear to be firming up, however. For the German-language publication Speedweek is now also reporting that the deal has been done, and that Stoner will be switching to the factory Repsol Honda team for 2011, joining his former mentor at Ducati, HRC marketing manager Livio Suppo. According to Speedweek - run by the veteran journalist Gunther Wiesinger - Stoner has been offered some 5 million euros a year to ride the Honda.

Rumors of the deal first emerged after Stoner's father and manager, Colin, was seen at Jerez, where he reportedly held talks with HRC. It is MotoGP's worst kept secret that Honda is desperate for a return to glory in MotoGP, after taking just a single title since Valentino Rossi's departure at the end of 2004, Nicky Hayden taking glory in the final year of the 990s in 2006. By signing a proven winner - Stoner has 1 championship and 20 victories to his name in the MotoGP class, twice the total of the current Repsol Honda team - HRC hopes to boost its chances of a return to championship glory. With Jorge Lorenzo looking increasingly likely to remain at Yamaha, Stoner is HRC's only realistic option from MotoGP's four current aliens. What Stoner's apparent signing means for the futures of Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso remains to be seen.

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...the silly-season doth begin in earnest!

i'm sure this will instigate a serious domino effect across the paddock!

who will ducati get to fill stoner's seat...pedrosa?!

i'm sure hayden would NOT like that!!

Elias would be good on a factory Ducati.
Every one forgets about Randy!! Spies could go to Ducati or Espargaro is show up Kalio so kalio is out.

is that all Stoner gets 5 million.. is that Pounds or Euros?

Sorry David, i'm going to be critical on this one.

What has firmed up except another news report with nothing to back it up? Do they have any sources, because you are not stating anything except that some reporter said it was so. Who told him? What are these further details?

Is this site turning into the national motorcycle enquirer? Enquiring minds want to know!

I can't read German to find out myself :/

The 5 million euros is less then what ducati supposedly offered lorenzo last year. Now why would they let their proven winner go at this relatively low cost?

.. and wamanning, about pedrosa to ducati. Nicky and Dani on the same team again but this time dressed in red? I think my head is going to explode.

What's firmed up is the source. Gunther Wiesinger is one of the best-connected journalists in the paddock, so much so that I have had press officers complain to me that he knows stuff he has no business knowing. The Italian media are good, but can be a little, shall we say, imaginative. Wiesinger only publishes stuff he is fairly certain is true.

That's why I love reading your website David. If I had read this anywhere else without your insight about the German journalist I would had been skeptic as well. Let the silly season kick into high gear.

If Pedrosa did move to Ducati I don't think Hayden would mind. It's a great chance to outshine his former teammate. I don't think that the factory would suddenly take Pedrosa's lead on the direction of the bike. It doesn't seem like the riders lead development in their system. If Pedrosa got more press hounding and took some pressure off of Hayden, I'm sure that'd be a bonus as well. The Ducati is a big question mark in terms of how fast or if ever someone will come to grips with it. I don't think Pedrosa would do that.

The interesting thing would be to see Pedrosa and Lorenzo at Yamaha, and at sea without Rossi.

Wow! If that is true, I think the only chance Ducati has of filling his seat with an Alien is none other then Valentino Rossi. HRC will surely try to keep both Stoner and Pedrosa. That would give them the best chance to reclaim the title since Rossi. Meanwhile, if Ducati can't sign Rossi...where will they be?

Maybe this is Dovi's big chance. I bet he can ride that red bike as well as anybody not from Australia.

Even though Stoner says he is happy at Ducati, I could easily see him moving to Honda.

(Rossi left Honda at the end of 2003.)


If this is true, the most realistic scenario is for Stoner and Dovizioso to essentially swap seats.

If Dovi and Hayden hold current form (or even improve) throughout the season, Ducati would still be a pretty formidable team with that lineup next year.

Yamaha are not going to let Rossi go, unless there is some out-of-his-mind sponsor willing to draw him away.

Puig probably has the least friction with Stoner, compared with anyone else in the paddock, so Pedrosa and Stoner on the same team is probably a best-case scenario for him...  unless he can rekindle the relationships with Telefonica, Movistar, and Suzuki when Capirex retires.

Dumb move imo on both parts. For Honda right now it looks like Dovi is running consistently better than Stoner and the move would mean that Stoner would have to learn a new bike and everything at Honda. I'm sure he could do it but he knows that Ducati and the team inside and out and has thus far looked anything like the "alien" we've seen in the previous few years.

What difference does this or any of the myriad permutations of bike/rider/team line-ups really mean?

As demonstrated this year; we had Ducati coming good for Nicky, Dani unhappy (Ducati good-Honda bad), then Casey crashes twice & Nicky once..Ducati bad. Dani (almost) looses alien status & is written off...wins 1 race & becomes a title contender. VR crashes, out come the F1 rumors & on & on &....

Here's a thought...on any given week/year..any of the aliens on any of the bikes (except Suzuki) could win; so all of this nonsense is just a distraction. There are so many variables, it is impossible to predict what combination of bike/rider/team will dominate; so what difference does it make if rider A goes to team H or D?

Sorry to say it, but these tabloid fantasies just demean the sport to a level of supermarket journal fodder. Are we admiring the riders for their skill, or their celebrity? Is it any of our business how much any one gets paid?

I've said before, it corrodes the competition & I stand by it. What are the current betting odds for the championship...did you hear that ___ is gay?

I'm here for the RACING..PERIOD

Far from being tabloid fodder, these events are at the very core of what is MotoGP. We all like to believe that a good rider can make any bike work but the evidence to support this simply isn't there.

Shuffling of bike rider combinations decide championships and determines careers. How would McCoy have done if on a full factory bike? What is Stoner hadn't been signed on to Ducati (after being their 3rd choice pick)?

Far from being celebrity gossip, these events are central to the sport.

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You are so right and I feel the same way. But I am also a sucker for any news that does/could influence the racing. What those guys earn or how they spend their spare time, I couldn't care less. But I have to admit, if today there is a rumour out that Rossi goes to Suzuki or Stoner goes back to LCR... I am all over it.

The riders aren't equal, the bikes aren't equal, the teams aren't equal. Any variation to the current state of things has an impact across the board and does affect the racing. Thats what we are passionate about so we need to know as it fuels our passion. If was just about "the racing" the grid could be filled with anyone but that's not what excites us!

"it corrodes the competition "

LOL. Right. If anything, it fuels it.

As a decades long GP fan, I freely admit to enjoying EVERY aspect of the circus. The racing, qualifying, practices, technology advancements, special edition livery, new helmet paint jobs, tire compounds and construction, Paddock scooters, Brolly girls, salary rumors, salary facts, new sponsor introductions, rider change rumors, team change rumors, Technician headhunting rumors, how riders spend their personal time, who's dating who.

If its connected to GP in any way, I enjoy reading about it.


Ok as a decades long GP fan, put yourself in the place of team manager. It is the 4th race of the season & your #1 rider has signed for another team.

A few questions might cross your mind...Do you want him to take the #1 plate with him?
Do you continue developing the bike around him? Do you include him in on future developement direction? Do you put a new fuel management algorithm on his bike knowing he'll take the technology with him? Do you even want him to win races knowing it will increase his market value after demonstrating disloyalty? I could go on.

What about the rider he is replacing..think he'll appreciate being sold out? What about the sponsors?

Fine, you MotoGP like gossip..American idol is popular too.

None of what you said, or could go on and on about, matters when it comes to competition.

Start a rumor at your place of employment that a layoff may be coming. Watch as every employee ups his/her performance, attitude, attendance, eagerness to please in an effort to "Beat the competiton" for the remaining positions.

Let me give you a real example of what really happens.

1. Rumor emerges that Stoner MAY be going to Honda
2. (possibly) Ducati work even harder (greater support) to keep him
3. Dovi (fears losing his seat) ups his game to keep it.
4. Dovi beats Dani and publicly states the importance of beating Dani
5. Dani focuses, ups his game, and beats Dovi
6. Lorenzo will up his game because he wont stand for coming behind Dani
7. Hayden ups his game attempting to become #1 at Ducati
8. Satelite boys try to shine in hopes to fill a factory seat after the dominos start falling.

I could go on and on. ;-)

Stirring the pot and fear of loss are always good motivators.

Where does this thinking come from that they are not all trying their best?

They are not NFL or NBA players, or even F1 drivers (to say nothing of "regular" places of employment).  Hardly any of them can afford to just "mail it in" for most of a season just because they think they have a contract (never mind that they might actually want to place higher in every race). 

The fact that nearly all of them are up for new contracts next year, already, goes against the idea that they are waiting for the "dominoes to fall" before they "up their game". 

Similarly, the factories don't need to upgrade their desire to improve their bikes in order to court new riders; they already are trying to beat each other and win races. 

Every rider can almost always dig a little deeper. We've watched Rossi do it this year when being pushed by Lorenzo. Does that mean he was "phoning it in" last year? No! But they all hold something in reserve for safety, and when properly motivated, they dip into that reserve. Sometimes they go faster, sometimes they fall.

I didnt say they were waiting for the dominos to fall before upping their game. I said they up their game in anticipation of being noticed WHEN the dominos start falling.

"Start a rumor at your place of employment that a layoff may be coming. Watch as every employee ups his/her performance, attitude, attendance, eagerness to please in an effort to "Beat the competition" for the remaining positions."

Anyone who's any good will bail and find employment elsewhere, while those who aren't will temporarily up their performance and fight over the remaining positions.

Tumid1, I believe you have proved my point. The contract negotiations have a central role in the results. Anything that affects the results matters to me.

If you want to ignore it, go right ahead but If Ducati's results are influenced by the fact that their lead rider is leaving next year, I want to know that. This is far too important of a factor in what happens on the track to ignore.

This isn't gossip.

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RatMC, I was thinking your previous post (re: Ducati/Stoner '07 championship) proved MY point that any of the 4 could win with the right situatation.

My concern is not that this is gossip per se, I agree, I'd like to know about it too; I just believe that it is too early in the season to have decisions made about next year that might have on-track implications THIS season. I'd rather see all teams/riders doing their best in 2010 & the championship be "cleanly" determined without the distraction of 2011 contract negotiations & the possible(?) prejudice of an early signing & riders' distracted about next year's employment.

I'm not advocating we ignore it...I just wish they'd wait until after the season ends. There is plenty of time.

G. Wiesinger is one of the best informed jounalist in the Paddock,
an he also wrote Yesterday that in a few weeks Rossi and Ducati
will reveal the deal.

In 25 years he never pronounced a wrong message. And now it
makes sense, that Brivio said these strange words to Rossis

WOW. Casey really goes to Honda. And Lorenzo won the internal battle against VR. I really never expected both.

Well, this means also that the way for Dani to Yamah is free.


Stoner to Honda i can believe it easily,for some reasons the most important the feeling between the Ducati and Casey is not so good than in a past,Livio Suppo also is an important man in the deal i think.

But Rossi to Ducati,it's harder to believe,Valentino claims he wants stay to Yamaha,i record your words and we'll see in a few weeks as you said.

Hopefully Dani AND Stoner wind up at Honda together, those two deserve each other. They can take turns throwing each other under the bus each time they underperform...

Gracious me, the season is only about 1/4 complete and we are all in a tizzy about next year already.

It doesn't matter what these mere underlings do anyway. As soon as my man Spies gets his mojo going they will all be racing for second place.

If Yahama had any nads they would up the goodies on Ben's bike now just to show the boys their future.

Yes, theres no deneying it, I'm a Spies fan. Sorry but sometimes I just can't control myself.

I like Spies too, but to say they will all be racing for second behind him is asking way too much.

layback - I was just kidding - ( sorta kinda :-)...)

But I really do expect Ben to be fighting for podiums when he gets on a factory machine next year. And I also expect him to get a few podiums this year - beginning this weekend - as soon as he gets his arms around all this new technology, tires, bike, etc, and he finally gets to some tracks he knows.

As in most things (work, sport, sex etc) confidence is key to a good performance. Natural talent is just not enough to perform regularly without this.
Now, imagine your job requires you to put your life on the line if you are to impress anyone, and then that you have some concern (or even info from 'reliable sources') that you are surplus to requirement in a few months. Would you still be willing to push 100%?
Imagine you feel you cannot win the Championship this year due to a poor start to the season (I know we are only 4 races in, but with so little between the contenders nowadays it is very difficult to regain that loss). Perhaps trying too hard this year might result in an injury that will still effect you next year?
Imagine hearing your (senior) team mate might be thinking of moving on, and wondering if you might earn a place at the head of table if put in that extra effort. Might you try that extra bit?

As another decades long GP fan I am insanely curious about how and why things happen on track. If you are only seeing the race from the lights to flag, and not taking any of these other things into account, you are not really seeing the big picture, and missing so much. It might be understanding why Rossi left Honda (it was not money or machinery), it might how impressive Rossi's first win on the Yamaha was (a case of mind over matter?), it might be why Biaggi never did more in the big class (hmmmm .... there's a good one).

Ignore the off track stuff if you must, but it will diminish your understanding and therefore enjoyment of the racing ... IMHO.

lol, all this talk of rumours and what not reminds me of Felipe Massa, he was pretty much believed to be leaving Ferrari next year, and they sign him on for 2 more years! :p

Remember, everything's going to change anyway. These four may be the aliens now, but has anyone seen Lorenzo ride a liter bike? (Not saying he can't, but it's going to be another learning process.) Did Stoner ever do anything but crash a 1000cc Honda? ("The tires were not as good... blah blah blah.") And did any of those 990cc bikes have a six engine limit, a bore limit, ridiculous electronics, and stingy fuel load?

What I'm getting at is that it's not even worth caring about what rider is going where at the moment, as it'll only really matter for one more season. After that the whole circus is going to be shaken up like a snow globe.

Talent is talent, so I imagine the cream will rise back up to the top. But, for instance, how much more formidable will Spies be once he knows all of the tracks and is riding something that more closely resembles the superbikes he's used to? Might be worth investing in a rider like that for the future rules! We all know Hayden can ride a big bike. Seems like Ducati would do well to keep him in their back pocket for a rainy day. Capirossi took wins on a 990 Ducati, so?...

I will say one thing: For Yamaha to give up Rossi and (maybe more importantly) Burgess as they approach this critical juncture would be pure madness. We've all seen that Lorenzo can ride the wheels off of an 800cc Yamaha. But will he and his crew be able to DEVELOP a 900-1000cc bike with an 81mm bore into a championship winning machine? When none of the old data applies anymore? One thing you can bet your ass on: wherever Rossi and Burgess end up, it will not take long for them to have their new bike at the top of the field on a regular basis.

I don't discount Burgess' value but the bike is Furusawa's and always was.

Next, I don't expect we will see much if any change in the way the bike ride when they can go to 1000cc. In fact, I'm pretty certain Yamaha and Honda will still run 800s.

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